Have you visited a bookstore recently? Did you notice a change? I did.
It made me think: Did 2020 change bookstores forever? I keep asking myself this after visiting a bookstore for the first time in over a year.
It is no secret that our family loves books and bookstores. One of the things that we have missed over the last year is visiting bookstores.
My husband and I have really been missing just browsing the bookstore, so last week when we were running some errands, we stopped by a Barnes and Noble store near where we were. It is the first time in over a year that we have been to Barnes and Noble.
In fact, we have only been to two bookstores in the last year, but they were just quick stops at used bookstores, so we were so excited to spend some time looking around Barnes and Noble.
It did not take long for both of us to realize that the store had changed a lot since we were in it last. We knew that 2020 changed a lot of things. It has been a hard time to be in business.
Everything in business from supply to buyers has changed. The book industry is no different. It was affected just like everything else.
We had heard books publishing and the book business had changed, but the reality of how much had changed hit us when we entered the Barnes and Noble store.
There was so much less stock. This might be due to changes in publishing and the fact that publishers have had a hard time printing books, but I am guessing that it is more than that. We couldn’t believe how few books there were in stock compared to a year ago.
And the type of books they carried changed too.
There was a big display of new releases when you walked in the door. Because of how they had it displayed, it looked like a lot of books, but it really wasn’t. I was also surprised by the books in the new release section. Many of them were not really new releases because they were released months ago.
The nonfiction section is what changed the most though. It was so much smaller. We used to love to browse the nonfiction section at Barnes and Noble. You could always find some great books that you had never heard of.
Browsing the nonfiction section at Barnes and Noble is how I found one of my favorite books from my nonfiction books for every state challenge. But there is no longer much browsing to do in the nonfiction section.
They did still have a decent true crime section, and I did see some new release nonfiction memoir-type books.
The nonfiction history is where we noticed the biggest change. The world history, WWII books, and American history were all a lot smaller than they used to be.
It didn’t take me long at all to look through the nonfiction history section. I found very few books I wanted. And unlike normal, I didn’t come away with a list of books I would want to buy down the road.
This is kind of sad because that is my favorite section at the bookstore. Are people not interested in history anymore?
The other thing we noticed was the Manga section. It was huge! The Manga section was bigger than the entire nonfiction history section. I had no idea Manga was so popular. I came home and talked quite a bit to Grace about the popularity of Manga. I don’t get it. Maybe that means I am old….
I left the bookstore feeling a little sad. I am not sure Barnes and Noble is a place that I will enjoy browsing anymore.
Did 2020 change bookstores forever? Did the events of the last year change the availability of books or are the type of books that people are reading changing? Is it a supply issue or is it a demand issue?
My guess is that it is a little of both.
Yes, it was so nice to be in a bookstore again. We bought a few books because we wanted to support the store. I want bookstores to survive, and they won’t survive if they don’t sell books. But they won’t sell books if they don’t carry very many books.
What do you think? What changes have you seen in bookstores around you? Has the last year changed bookstores and the books that they sell?