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Barnes & Noble Company: Distribution and Marketing Plan Essay

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Updated: Jul 6th, 2020

Introduction

Barnes & Noble and Amazon are both book-selling companies located in the US. Barnes & Noble is the older of the two, and it dominated the book industry for long before Amazon penetrated the industry in 1995. The two companies have engaged in supremacy battle for a long period, with each company striving to outsmart the other in the book industry. However, many people view Amazon as being superior to Barnes & Noble due to its large number of customers all over the world.

The nature of the battle between the two companies continues to escalate as new technologies emerge. Initially, Barnes & Noble availed hard copy books to its customers until Amazon introduced books in the form of soft copies. This paper will explore issues surrounding the nature of the battle between the two companies and provide recommendations to Barnes & Noble regarding how it can improve its electronic marketing in order to compete successfully with its major rival, Amazon.

Facts Recap

The battle between Barnes & Noble and Amazon centers on the two companies’ determination to control the book industry in the US (Gelles, 2014). As opposed to Barnes & Noble, which sells its books in hard copy, Amazon sells its books electronically, thus making them attractive to a wide array of customers accustomed to the Internet. In addition, books distributed by Amazon are relatively cheaper as compared to those distributed by Barnes & Noble (Herther, 2012).

These factors pose a great danger to the existence of Barnes & Noble in the industry, which explains why the company is against the entry of Amazon into the publishing business. The recent move by Amazon to venture into the business of publishing has compounded the battle between the two companies. Barnes & Noble, which is the largest retail store, has reacted to the move by avoiding stocking books published by Amazon in its outlet stores. The company does so in the belief that authors will shy from entering publishing deals with Amazon in fear that their books will not receive public attention, thus leading to diminished sales.

Amazon’s entry into publishing

In my opinion, Amazon’s venture into the publishing business was an informed one, as were it not for the move, the company would not have emerged as one of the leading suppliers of books across the world (Turner, 2012). Amazon’s entry into publishing has increased competition amongst publishers, thus leading to high-quality service provision. Additionally, Amazon’s entry into publishing marked the end of monopoly that existed in the book industry, whereby large booksellers like Barnes & Noble did publishing, and they would exploit customers via overcharging (Krug, 2012).

However, critics allege that the move by Amazon to venture into the publishing industry has led to the fall of small publishing companies due to competition. Overall, Amazon’s decision to penetrate the industry can be described as wise since it has afforded an opportunity for small firms to compete with larger firms such as Barnes & Noble. In addition, the company has led to reduced prices of books in the market coupled with averting exploitation of customers by the large companies that initially dominated the book market.

Working with Amazon

If I were a popular author of children’s fiction and an agent approaches me to advise on a possible publishing deal with Amazon, I would accept the deal for two reasons. Firstly, Amazon is a leading supplier of online books, and contrary to its competitors, it provides its customers with a relatively easier way to purchase their books. Its main competitor, Barnes & Noble, provides hard copy books, which are unattractive to most customers that have embraced the Internet. On the other hand, Amazon has a well-established online book-selling infrastructure that keeps it ahead of its competitors (Herther, 2012).

Secondly, Amazon has the largest online market share, and it will be easy for an author to get his/her work known to many people across the world (Turner, 2012). Amazon also avails discounts for its clients so that the cost of publishing is reduced significantly. However, before accepting a publishing offer from Amazon, I would also consider the market aspect. Large bookseller stores in the US are not stocking books published by Amazon. This aspect can affect the sales of a book by an author, especially those entering the business.

First book

The decision by an author to engage Amazon in publishing greatly depends on one’s experience. Authors that are well known to customers would not shy from having their work published by Amazon. If I were an author with no previous engagement with another publisher, I would not seal a publishing deal with Amazon since, as a new author, stocking of books by the famous outlets such as Barnes & Noble would be necessary to boost sales and sell my reputation to the public. A decision to publish with Amazon would only favor authors who are well known to the public, but not new ones (Trachtenberg, 2014). New work needs to be stocked for public awareness.

E-book sales

Traditionally, only hard copies were available in bookstores (Gelles, 2014). However, with contemporary technological advancement and the invention of the Internet, electronic book selling has replaced the hard copies (Turner, 2012). However, Amazon was the first to discover online marketing for its books, and thus it beats Barnes & Noble on the same even to date. One of the failures of Barnes & Noble is in the electronic market. The company puts much of its investment in hard copy books as opposed to soft copies (Krug, 2012).

On the other hand, Amazon sells its books in soft copies and it has secure paying methods for its customers such as the use of credit cards (Herther, 2012). In my opinion, Barnes & Noble could seek for mergers and acquisition contracts with other book selling companies in the US in order to compete with Amazon. A merger would introduce new ideas in the management of the company and enable it to improve its services. My recommendation for Barnes & Noble is to embark on electronic sales and dedicate a significant portion of its resources to that kind of marketing. Barnes & Noble should recognize that the world is changing and technology is growing and thus it should work hard to acquire a portion of online market.

Conclusion

Barnes & Noble and Amazon are the two major rivals in the American book industry. The two have engaged in supremacy battles as each company struggles to control the industry. Due to the modern technological advancement, the two companies endeavor to dominate the online market. Since Amazon entered a publishing agreement with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s company, most booksellers in the US have become reluctant in stocking books published by Amazon to avoid competition. The motive behind the failure to stock books published by Amazon is to bar it from venturing into the publishing business.

References

Gelles, D. (2014). Barnes & noble receives conditional offer. New York Times, p.46.

Herther, N. (2012). The e book wars, Amazon versus the rest. Searcher, 20(4), 20-23.

Krug, N. (2012). Amazon books getting no shelf space. The Washington Post, p.32.

Trachtenberg, J. (2014). Corporate news: Barnes & noble posts profit as digital device sales tumble. The Wall Street Journal, 4(2), 16-17.

Turner, K. (2012). Independent retailers turn page on business. McClatchy – Tribune Business News, p.18.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Barnes & Noble Company: Distribution and Marketing Plan." July 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/barnes-amp-noble-company-distribution-and-marketing-plan/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Barnes & Noble Company: Distribution and Marketing Plan'. 6 July.

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