As an Amazon affiliate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.
why is Barnes & Noble Expensive?

Why are Barnes and Noble Books Still So Expensive in 2023?

Barnes & Noble is one of the largest book retailers in the world. Its stores are so cozy and inviting, which is probably why people love shopping there. 

However, Barnes & Noble books are also quite expensive. So, why does this international retailer charge so much for books?

Barnes and Noble’s books are primarily expensive because of the stores’ locations. B&N stores are located in prime areas near shopping and entertainment centers. These locations are expensive to rent and maintain. Their wide selection of literature, high-quality books, and overheads also contribute to the high prices.

In this article, we’ll look at Barnes & Noble bookstores and why their books are so expensive. Read on to find out whether they are worth the high prices.

About Barnes & Noble and Their Pricing Strategy

Barnes & Noble has been around for quite a while and has continued to survive even through the e-book wave. 

However, the store tries to ignore the online competition and focuses on keeping customers who want to get their books in a brick-and-mortar store.

Therefore, they compare their prices with other physical store retailers like books-a-million.

Barnes & Noble Average Book Price

While books are considered to be more expensive in Barnes & Noble than in other stores, it really boils down to the book itself. Some books might be reasonably priced, while others are too expensive.

For instance,  Cicely Tyson’s Just as I Am is $17 on B&N and $13 on Amazon while Finding Me by Viola Davis is the same price in both stores.

Why Is Barnes & Noble So Expensive?

In general, Barnes & Noble is more expensive than other book sources, especially big box stores and online retailers. Here are a few reasons for that:

1. Location

Barnes & Noble store in Expensive location
A Barnes & Noble Store in Wisconsin

In real estate, one of the most important factors to consider is location. The same applies to brick-and-mortar book stores like Barnes & Noble.

Barnes & Noble has to make sure that customers looking for a store in a large city don’t travel to undesirable parts of town. Instead, the stores are located in easily accessible areas. 

The retailers are likely to be located in places where people gather for entertainment or more shopping.

Barnes & Noble prioritizes its stores’ locations to ensure they become a convenient destination for its customers. These locations are expensive to rent and maintain which reflects in book prices.

In addition, their online competitors like Amazon don’t have to deal with this issue because they don’t have physical stores.

2. High-Quality Books

Barnes & Noble High quality books are expensive
Barnes & Noble Classics

If you’ve shopped for a book on Amazon and then walked into a Barnes & Noble to buy another copy, you probably noticed the difference in quality. 

Books from online stores are often damaged due to poor packaging. Barnes & Noble, on the other hand, takes great care of books because that’s their main business.

Even if you order from their online store, the books are well-packaged and handled carefully until they get to your doorstep.

3. Wide Selection of Literature

Although Barnes & Noble sells other products, the company is focused on books. With over 1,000,000 books and 5500 magazine titles, the store probably has any book you can think of. 

If you like to read newspapers, you can choose between the 1500 publications in B&N’s inventory.

Such a wide array of literature cannot be found anywhere else, even in online stores. As a result, researchers and anyone else who’d like a wide collection of books to make comparisons shop at Barnes & Noble.

Maintaining such a wide selection of books is anything but cheap. These costs are also included in book prices.

4. Costly Overheads

Maintaining an internationally recognized book retailer the size of Barnes & Noble is not easy. It requires a lot of finances and manpower. Here are some of the operational costs in Barnes & Noble.

High Salaries

Barnes & Noble is known to treat its workers exceptionally well, especially in terms of remuneration. 

Although it’s hard to tell exactly how much B&N employees are paid, reports place wages at $16.25 an hour ($33,823 a year).

According to the BLS, retail workers earned a median of $14.03 per hour in 2021. Therefore, Barnes & Noble is a generous employer.

The high compensation for employees suggests that Barnes & Noble only recruits qualified experts to work in their stores. Of course, these high salaries are at the customer’s expense and are included in book prices.


Barnes & Noble book Warehouses

With a collection of over 1 million book titles, it’s safe to assume that Barnes & Noble doesn’t shelf all of them in their stores. 

Due to their wide selection of literature, they have to maintain a few warehouses to store additional books.

General Bills

Having a physical store means you also have to pay for electric bills, water, air conditioning, etc. Most retail stores also need to pay for licenses and other legal requirements to operate. 

Barnes & Noble has massive stores spread across the world, which means their overheads are high. All these costs are passed down to the customers and added to book prices.

5. Company Reputation

Barnes & Noble has a long history of selling a wide selection of quality books. Even with the influx of online retailers and ebooks, most old customers still enjoy walking into Barnes & Noble and buying a physical copy.

Barnes & Noble also has a beautiful reading environment in their cafes where many readers go to enjoy a chapter before returning to the chaos outside. 

Since it’s a reputable brand, most readers are willing to pay more for books from Barnes & Noble.

Does Barnes & Noble Price Match?

According to its Price Matching Policy, Barnes & Noble believes it offers competitive pricing for its products, many of which are unique to its stores. 

As a result, B&N is already offering the best services to customers, so it doesn’t meet requests to match its competitors’ prices on any of its products.

Why Is Barnes & Noble Cheaper Online?

Just like other online stores, Barnes & Noble online benefits from reduced operational costs. It does not need physical locations to set up stores hence no power bills and no air conditioning.

The online service also requires a limited staff, compared to physical stores that need janitors, cashiers, shelf attendants, etc.

This means that Barnes & Noble online can make a profit even when they sell the books at the same prices as Amazon.

Read Also: Why Are Basketball Cards So Expensive? (Should You Invest in Them?)

Will Barnes & Noble Lower Their Prices?

Unfortunately, Barnes & Noble’s book prices don’t seem like they will lower in the foreseeable future. 

The physical stores are barely surviving due to the fierce competition from second-hand stores, online retailers, ebooks, and audiobooks. Therefore, they have to make huge margins on each sale to stay afloat.

Secondly, Barnes & Noble might be hoping to convert more traffic from their physical stores to their online store. This will guarantee them a future in book sales since physical stores seem to be running out of popularity.

Is Barnes and Noble Membership Worth It in 2023?

If you’re an avid reader who enjoys a new book every so often, a Barnes & Noble membership might be worth it. 

However, if you just want to buy a book once in a while, it makes more financial sense to buy it online.

Below is a video explaining how the Barnes & Noble membership works and the benefits of being a member.

1 thought on “Why are Barnes and Noble Books Still So Expensive in 2023?”

  1. Pingback: Why are Missing 411 Books So Expensive Right Now?

Comments are closed.