“A Terrible Holiday Season”

Yes, more doom and gloom for a Monday morning. Maybe you saw this Wall Street Journal article last week?

The headline is “Barnes and Noble Braces for ‘Terrible’ Season.” The retailer’s largest shareholder, Len Riggio, is quoted as saying, “Never in all of the years I’ve been in business have I seen a worse outlook for the economy. And never in all my years as a bookseller have I seen a retail climate as poor as the one we are in. Nothing even close.”

So, after some layoffs here at headquarters last week, and articles like this, it’s hard not have a gloomy outlook on the dismal retail market. For the most part, our jobs depend on people buying things. It used to be exclusively books and magazines. Now it’s books, magazines, subscriptions, downloads, podcasts, classes, DVDs. But really, it’s information. People still need and want information, even during an economic downturn.

The question is, how much are they willing to forgo to get it? There is currently a debate on our company intranet site.  One side says that people will always buy books (content)—at least our content—because they need to fuel their passions even (and especially) during hard times. It probably helps that most of our content is targeted toward passionate collectors, artists, and other enthusiasts. The other side says that books, magazines, DVDs are a luxury, and they are the first to go when the budget is tightened.

What is your experience? Must you have your books and magazines, or are they the first victims of a shrinking disposable income?

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1 Response to ““A Terrible Holiday Season””


  1. 1 laurenmosko November 11, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    I think avid readers and book/magazine lovers still buy; they are just more likely to skip B&N and Borders in favor of Amazon and Half Price Books. I’ve read the forecasts about retail being down across the board (not just in media), so I’m sure there will be some loss to everyone, but I have a feeling that discount retailers (and publishers who offer direct-to-consumer discounts and bundled buys) will take less of a hit.

    Did you all see Random House’s big holiday “Books = Gifts” campaign? Wondering how that will turn out… At least they’re not just targeting their employees. 😉


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