I was getting ready for a trip and wanted a good book for the plane. I keep a list of books I want to read. It’s usually 50-100 titles. I stopped by Barnes & Nobles to pick one up.
Barnes and Nobles, the last remaining brick and mortar chain bookstore, went zero for ten. They couldn’t lay their hands on even one of them. Some were obscure, but many were not. I needed customer service for every single one, because there is not an intuitive ordering to their books. At one point they had a self service kiosk, where you could enter a book and it would show you where the book was in the store, but that seems to have gone away.
The employees couldn’t have been nicer. But they couldn’t get me a book. This one is out. That one ought to be here but it isn’t. This one was here yesterday but they just put new titles in. This one ought to be in the shipping bay but it isn’t. They were more than willing to order me a copy. But why would I do that, I can order it through Amazon, and it ends up at my front door.
I’m done with brick and mortar. They just can’t beat the convenience of going online and getting what I want at a decent price delivered straight to my home. I don’t buy the latest Jackie Collins crap or books about 5-year olds who think they saw God – if it’s not a current best seller, you have trouble finding it at brick and mortar. (As a side note, there are a lot of truly awful books out there. The stuff some people want to read just blows me away.) I’m not going to try anymore.
Curious about what the actual books are? Here are a few of them.
John Gribbon: Annus Mirabilis: 1905, Albert Einstein, and the Theory of Relativity
Iain M. Banks: Inversions (1998), Look to Windward (2000)
Tim Harford: Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure
Joe Navarro: 200 Tells
Kelly Link: Anything
Daniel Kahneman: Thinking Fast and Slow