Barnes & Noble is laying off many of its most experienced workers following a disappointing holiday season (down 6% from the year before), with lead cashiers, receiving managers, and other seasoned employees being let go company-wide. Employees were given little to no notice of their termination, with many showing up for work only to find their jobs had been eliminated. A B&N spokesperson said the company “has been reviewing all aspects of the business, including our labor model. Given our sales decline this holiday, we’re adjusting staffing so that it meets the needs of our existing business and our customers. As the business improves, we’ll adjust accordingly.” The layoffs began on February 12, 2018 and were expected to be complete by February 16.
The company declined to say how many positions were being eliminated, but estimates suggest it’s in the hundreds; the company previously employed about 26,000 people. According to a statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 13, B&N stands to save $40 million annually from the labor reduction, even after paying $11 million in severance costs. The filing also states that “the new model will allow stores to adjust staff up or down based on the needs of the business, increase store productivity and streamline store operations.”
Barnes & Noble has changed the name of their self-publishing platform Nook Press to Barnes & Noble Press; it was originally called PubIt!, and became Nook Press in 2013. They’re also offering better royalties for books at higher price points: for ebooks priced from $10 to $199.99, the royalty is 65%, up from 40% previously. They’re also allowing authors to list ebooks for pre-order up to a year before publication. Their print-on-demand side now offers more choices, too, with a wider array of trim sizes, plus color and gloss options. For more, see their site.