Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pobrecito Barnes & Noble

In Spanish, "pobrecito" is the third most popular word, trailing only "el" and "la." Peruvians in particular like to refer anyone who's struggling or put upon as a pobrecito, which roughly translates to "poor little thing." Their hearts would weep for the Barnes & Noble franchise, which is having to close a few stores due to the lousy economy and online booksellers like Amazon.

People browsing at the Lincoln Center store on Monday lamented the loss of one of the city’s largest and most prominent bookstores, a sprawling space with a cafe on the fourth floor and an enormous music selection. For devoted theatergoers, it was a reliable site for readings and events that focused on the performing arts.

But many of those same people conceded that they have not bought as many books there as they did in the past. Some said they were more likely to browse the shelves, then head home and make purchases online. Others said they prized the store most for its sunny cafe or its magazines and other nonbook items.


I do not weep for Barnes & Noble. I still remember when Barnes & Noble and (pobrecito) Media Play opened their stores in Utah County, causing my favorite local bookstores to struggle. I particularly disliked the bait 'n switch technique of opening the stores with tons of books and movies, and then slowly whittling down the selections. Same thing with the cozy reading areas -- they get rid of those over time.

That said, when my mother asks me what I want for Christmas, I say, "Gift Certificate to Barnes & Noble." So there.

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