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Barnes & Noble is now selling beer kits

Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg of the Wall Street Journal offers an instructive analysis of Barnes & Noble’s recent marketing strategies.



  1. Jessica Dartnell says:

    This is quite saddening. It’s unfortunate that in order for Barnes and Noble to increase their store traffic, they have to use methods which divert the attention away from the books. I’m considering the quote from Mr. Tinker of Maxim Group at the end of the article in which he says that the main goal is for already established customers to be able to do (and buy) more in the store, but I feel as though this is simply a band-aid for a bullet wound. The real issue is that many people aren’t as interested in reading or buying books anymore.

    The way I see it, beer kits and popcorn makers are only further deterring potential readers. The only positive I can really see is that at least beer kits and Lego sets allow people to be creative and somewhat artful, and in a sense live out their own stories of experience. I’m curious as to why they haven’t incorporated books more into the displays such as these. For example, they could showcase books about the history of beer-making next to the beer kits to at least draw some attention back to the books.

    If someone were interested in buying a beer kit from a bookstore, it seems more likely that they would be interested in reading more about it, as well, than someone who was in a different type of store and only for the purpose of buying a beer kit. The main goal really should be to restore people’s love of books, and a key part of that might be for bookstores to assist customers in making the associations between books and their “ooh-shiny” reflexes.

  2. meganrudloff says:

    I agree with Jess’s point about having a book tie-in with the beer and popcorn kits. However, I feel that this new merchandise is a potentially successful marketing tool that will get customers into the store. While they are there, they may peruse the store’s book inventory and decide to buy a book, too. In order to keep afloat, Barnes & Noble has used the beer and popcorn kits in order to attract attention and more foot traffic. Perhaps it is just a matter of getting customers to walk into the store, and these kits are an opportunity to accomplish this.

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