Post by David DeLaney Post by Kevrob Post by Robert Woodward Post by David DeLaney
[*] as you know bob, about two months ago some utter IDIOT in the upper
management of Barnes & Noble gave the command that the Knoxville store, at
least, was henceforth Not Allowed to have New Arrivals subsections in any of
the genre sections, including the one I care about and frequent every week.
This has raised my stress and frustration level in dealing with the store
This also happened in the 2 Barnes and Noble stores I frequent in the
Seattle area, which is good reason to suspect that it was chain wide. I
suspect that some "genius" in headquarters noticed that the new book
sections were using 30-60 feet of shelf space per genre and had them
eliminated to give floor space to toys and silly games. Next year's
stroke of "genius," after noticing a big drop in book sales, will be to
cut back on books (which will be as successful as when it was done at
My frustration was alleviated by the fact that each month I have been
preparing a list of new books for that month (by way of Locus's lists of
Did the stores in question include SF/F titles in end-cap or
table displays nearby, to replace the "new arrivals" section?
Are they sprinkled into a new arrivals area elsewhere in the
A couple, and a couple, and for the former they're long since not "new", they
just have one theme per endcap.
The table displays for New Arrivals (Hardback) and Bestsellers and New Arrivals
(Trade Paperback) serve _the entire bookstore's worth_ of genres and categories
- they don't have ROOM up there for tables with an SF/F specilization plus a
romance one plus a mystery one plus a science one plus a biography one plus a
"general fiction that's not any actual genre" one plus a literature one plus...
So you get maybe one, maybe three F/SF books that have come out in the last
month or two there. This is not what is needed at all.
Similarly, the one (1) carousel that carries new paperbacks (and those
abominations, new Very Small Trade Paperbacks), and the one carousel that
carries thrillers-and-series-&c., serve romance and westerns and thrillers and
horror and ... The former usually has several F/SF entries -- from the last
month or two. The latter may have an entire small subsection of Diana Paxson's
Outlander series, and one Kevin Hearne book, not necessarily the latest, and a
few Star Wars-universe novels, for example; I look at it only because
occasionally it DOES have a lone new paperback.
Put all together, these are no substitute for several shelf-sections' worth
of "these have come in over the last few weeks or a month" that the New
Arrivals section specific to a given genre was.
For example: one Ryk Spoor's latest trade paperback, new out this week and I
didn't know it was coming? NOT up front anywhere at all. Filed, in I think one
copy, under the 'Sp' position in the F/SF section.
Thus my comment about having to take the time to look at -EVERY SINGLE
FUCKING you should excuse the expression Dorothy BOOK THERE- on Sunday. It's
the ONLY way now to catch whatever has come out since the last time I was there
and been filed in alphabetically. I don't mind doing this for Humor / Comic
Strips And Cartoons subsection, cuz that fits all on one shelf section; I am
very miffed that I'm being forced to do all the extra work in F/SF that B&N
had been providing as a service this past decade or so.
Post by Kevrob
New items are usually the ones for which there is decent stock,
Heh. No, that's new ones _by popular authors_ and _in best-selling series_ and
_being promoted specifically by the publisher this week_. I have a -reason- I
visit every week for books: because it's poissible to miss a book entirely if
I wait much longer, if there were only one or two and it doesn't get reordered.
Post by Kevrob
That takes up no more room.
This last is a really important point in this: dissolving New Arrivals doesn't
_save_ shelf space in any way. The books still have to go somewhere. And it
still takes employee time and effort to put them wherever they are to go.
I never worked for B&N, but I did spend 7 years with B Dalton,
prior to their absorption by Riggio's outfit. It used to drive me
nuts when corporate would order plenty of stock for new titles that
sold, but lay in the 90% area of a Sturgeon's Law Venn diagram.
You'd want to "face out" the good stuff, but like as not, there
wasn't enough to justify anything but a spine-out display. The
carrels usually had a shelf or two set up for oversize books, and
this in a period (Late 70s to mid-80s) when almost all the SF/F
stocked was MMPB. BDB ordering new hardcovers and/or trade paperbacks
was an event in that section.
I had a better time displaying for an independent I worked with
for the following 18years, but I spent most of that time doing
off-floor duties, such as special orders, wholesaler reorders
and various other inventory duties. That gave me a little leeway
in reordering sold-out titles, but they had to turn, or I'd
catch hell. The owner and some of his assistants did the front-list
and back-list buying from the publishers. The owner didn't read nor
understand SF or fantasy, unless it came labeled "Borges" or "Atwood."
A competing independent did a much better job, but they went under
years before we did, so it was hard to argue for more stock. "It
doesn't sell," he'd say. "It's Say's Law," I'd retort. "Nobody
comes here to buy it, because they've gone away empty-handed too
I imagine that store manager is stuck with what is known as a "Planogram."*
The Dalton General office in Minneapolis distributed a display chart weekly.
It designated display areas in the store the manager had to use for various titles, where the publisher-supplied displays had to go, and the company-
supplied signs. There was very little deviation from The Plan.
These days they get that info sent digitally, rather than sent on
paper via snailmail or an express service.
Post by David DeLaney
Dave, i have not expressed my disappointment to my brother, who with his wife
runs Rediscovered Books in Boise, but i feel he would be in violent agreement
You'd be better off checking for "new arrivals" by calling up titles
on your phone or tablet and asking someone at the special order
desk if they are in stock!