He talked about the value of bookstores in many different ways, from the value of independent bookstores in a community (he said of Barnes and Noble, “we look pretty damn independent to me”), to the value of bookstores as a retail environment (I think he said whether you see us as “incubators, portals or showrooms, we are critical to this industry.”). Saying at one point (and this is a paraphrase): landlords are giving us better space for cheaper because they like the kinds of customers that great bookstores attract.
Publishers Weekly covered this talk, saying: “Riggio Expresses Optimism in PubWest Keynote”
Optimism was certainly a theme. His belief in the future of books came through often. He also came back several times to the excitement he felt in the unfolding entrepreneurial landscape that is the book industry of today.
He spoke of the success that Barnes and Noble had created with Nook. Saying they had gone “from zero to north of a 25 share in 23 months.” And of course “more to come” on Monday (Nov. 7th). He talked about how Nook and print worked together and what they’d learned about the owners of Nooks (buying more units, spending more on content). At one point in his talk, Mr. Riggio said: “We [Barnes and Noble] have the resolve, we are as committed as ever to the future of bookselling. We will adapt to whatever this new world brings us.”
It was an inspiring talk, filled with facts and attentive to details. He had specific tactical ideas for publishers, a remarkable grasp of all facets of the industry and a powerful vision for the future. I hope I’ve communicated some of that for you. And look forward to comments and discussion.
Dominique (writing from PubWest 2011 in Las Vegas)