[Updated later with a photograph of the Nook setup at the B&N on Fifth Avenue near 42nd Street.]
So yesterday I wandered into the Barnes & Noble at Union Square, and I beheld for the first time the retailing set up in the brick-and-mortar stores for the Nook, their super-sleek ereader. I should have snapped a picture with my phone, but I am lazier than the dead and simply wandered around with my mouth open going, “Nnnh… Nnnh? Nnnh!” and so on.
What I find interesting is that they’ve given the Nook an enormous amount of real estate in the store, basically tearing out four (five?) wall units of shelving and getting rid of two or three big tables—real estate which has, in the past, been given over to the display of physical books. This is no mere nook. Instead, we have a barren, future-aesthetic wall with the “Nook” legend, with the Nooks in plastic bubble containers on a shelf behind a counter, and a sullen-faced teenager between the counter and the Nooks, granting access. (This is probably only a requirement in New York City, where strange people might wander in, cry, “Nnnh!”, grab a Nook, and make a break for freedom.)
This is both alarming (goodbye physical retailing of books) and awesome (hello mass-market acceptance; you cannot miss this display). And really shows how very aggressively B&N is being about taking over this market from Amazon. Hell, they’re even going to market other maker’s devices—because B&N understands that content is key, and devices are just a means.
Have any of you seen the new retail set-ups? How does it strike you?