If I ran Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble has something that Amazon.com doesn't have... presence in most metro areas. If I ran B&N, I would look at allowing online purchasers to have an option of picking the book up at their local store, even if the person ordering it was standing in the store while he ordered it.

I would offer a "Pick it up in 30 minutes" deal. You would have to wait the 30 minutes to pick it up so that if someone tried to game the system, it might be a little more inconvenient, but really, does it matter? If I have Amazon Prime, I can have the book in two days with free shipping or I can have it tomorrow for $3.99 shipping. When you factor in the deep Amazon discount on books, the $3.99 shipping charge is trivial.

Sure, a B&N "picker-upper" would have to pay sales tax, but they do already (which may be why bn.com is much less successful than Amazon.com.)

This distribution scheme could potentially decimate the shelf inventory at your local B&N, but, so what? With the size of that company and their advanced distribution system, they could have them restocked the next day.

What better way to compete against "get it cheap and have it the next day" than to "get it cheap and have it before lunch"? B&N's cost structure with all of their existing brick and mortar stores is fixed and long term, so why not leverage it? Plus, there is always the possibility that the picker-uppers may see something else that they need, adding to the profit potential.

One other item I would look at that Amazon does not do, is leverage the total media experience of the Nook. Amazon.com owns Audible.com (audio books), Kindle (e-books) and Amazon (paper books) but does not integrate any of the three. If someone would drop $9.95 for a Nook book, I would allow a $12.95 option to get the audio version with it. Also, if someone paid full freight ($36.95) for a paper book, I would fix my computer system to automatically give that account the Nook version and the audio version for free. (Personally, I finish 100% more books on audio than I do with the dead tree version.)

I mean, what is the long tail cost? Nothing. "Oh, but there is value in the audio production" one might say. Well, compare the value of a $36.95 book to a $16.95 copy of the same book delivered in two days to your door. I see no difference, except for the act of getting it when you want it. Is that worth $20 plus tax? Value valuation changes. Get with the program...

While these traditional companies spend millions of dollars protecting their old-school flanks, they are getting killed on the forefront.

In the words of Earl Pitts, "Wake up, Uhmerika!"


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