Barnes & Noble

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  www.barnesandnoble.com

Barnes & Noble Reviews

Updated December 15, 2014
Updated December 15, 2014
1,184 Reviews
3.4
1,184 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Michael Huseby
173 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • It's nice to get a decent discount on books and have access to the titles (in 42 reviews)

  • The one thing that I can say about this company is that you get a pretty great employee discount (in 108 reviews)


Cons
  • While the pay is a little above minimum wage, the hours make for some very small paychecks (in 79 reviews)

  • The company had some serious problems that turned a great part-time job into a so-so (in 61 reviews)

More Highlights

403 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Slightly better than the average retail experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Salt Lake City, UT
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Salt Lake City, UT

    I worked at Barnes & Noble part-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Employee discounts were pretty decent! I love books--although B&N sells far more than books at this point (electronics, music and media (including record players), gadgets and accessories, kits, costumes, plush toys, games, 3D models, etc.)--so 30% of /almost/ everything was pretty persuasive. You also get 50% cafe food and drink (30% off any retail goods, like Godiva or Harney & Sons) and a discount on Nook, if that's your deal. Employee appreciation days twice a year was also a big bonus, in my personal opinion.

    Management was pretty decent, actually. I realize that one's personal experiences with management differ greatly from location to location, but mine was pretty above average. Even though I was a lowly bookseller, managers paid heed to my complaints and concerns, and did their best within "local store" means to resolve major conflicts. We still had to abide by HR and "corporate"'s rules, however nonsensical, but every single manager at my store either graduated from a business program or was trained in conflict resolution. There was still drama, but every single manager and lead worked extremely hard (especially for how little they made in comparison). It made you feel much better about struggling with recovery and customer service every shift, every week.

    It did feel a bit like working with family.

    Cons

    Exceptionally low pay (ha)--you made minimum most of the time, and they list you as a cafe server through HR so you make a bit less than you would as a bookseller. That's retail for you.

    The work isn't mentally difficult, but it's definitely laborious. We had an extraordinary number of online projects to finish in the store before the morning was over (they just decreased the amount of time allotted to 'before the store opens,' which is almost physically impossible given the tasks assigned and the amount of time needed to complete each task), which is made more difficult by constant budgets cuts. We squeaked by on the lowest SPH possible, which meant as few as 4-5 people to open and close the largest store /in the state/--at any given moment, even the busiest. (Sometimes it was 3-4, including the manager. Those were some mind-boggling shifts.)

    Since just about anyone can get a job in retail, the quality of work fluctuated drastically. I was lucky in that 70% of the time, managers worked just as hard as anyone else--but I wouldn't be able to apply that brush to the staff as a whole. Some people definitely worked harder than others--usually picking up their slack or desperately trying to cover as many projects as possible before they snowballed. At times, projects were 'reported as completed' when they were still technically pending, or not touched upon at all.

    Disorganization and miscommunication. We printed out almost everything--and many things were lost in the process. Managers would sometimes not clarify descriptions/details in the projects needing completion (and sometimes these projects were lacking such description in the first place, leading to mass confusion) when asked about them, which meant that booksellers were often left to their own devices. Then, the regional or district manager would come in and complain about the setup of displays. We often moved displays four or five times before corporate was satisfied, although there was no evidence that it increased sales (as opposed to increasing confusion among booksellers of different shifts about where product was relocated). This lead to lots of drama as booksellers did their best to meet unrealistic sales goals, while managers worried about numbers and highlighted the importance of meeting plan even though there was no specific training regarding said goal.

    Disinterested/apathetic corporate liaisons. Just as it sounds. Regional or district managers would come in to assess the store from time to time, but would make almost no effort to engage the booksellers/merchandisers/leads/anyone other than the store manager. As booksellers, we had less voice than anyone else, but almost no one of import was addressed, either. No effort was made to make the store more "local," with product targeted to our very particular clientele. We were 'local,' in a sense, to many customers, but few were regulars; many regarded us as generic as the company we served.

    Difficult customers--everyone in retail should be prepared to meet at least a handful. /Many/ people won't forgive you for asking the 'retail questions' while ringing them up ("Hello! How are you? Did you find everything okay? Are you a member with us? Would you like to be? It's blah blah blah with blah blah blah and you'll save 10% off your entire purchase today--"), especially around the holidays. If you're doing tech support it starts to go into the realm of 'living hell' while contacting store support.

    Retail is difficult in general--people will almost never appreciate or reward you even if you jump through multiple hoops to assist them. (I had a gentleman complain to my manager when I explained to him that he could take advantage of a coupon to get 15% off--after I had already spent about twenty minutes literally running through the entire store and receiving room to find the books he and his son were looking for, and this coupon code would literally cost him nothing as all I needed was his permission to apply it, which he refused to give? People are sometimes unfathomably disagreeable.) Recovery work can be very hard, and people generally treat you like 1) robots or 2) animals. Management and your fellow coworkers can be exceptionally hard to deal with, depending on their mood. There's literally no merit to working harder than anyone else; it is /not/ a meritocracy. You do the bare minimum and adhere to 'performance standards' and you'll be 'outstanding' on the 'exemplary' scale. You work odd hours, with inconsistent shifts (although at this store the scheduling manager was quite understanding of circumstances and willing to work around life events and university--they posted schedules three weeks in advance most of the time, but it was hard to get time off unless you could swap, somehow), with little gratitude and lack of important information (what are the new sales? Which important items were released today? Where has product been relocated? Is there important corporate or local information we should know about?), at the lowest point of the pay scale.

    Unless you plan on advancing through lead (whereupon you can get tuition reimbursement and other benefits), this is a means to an end. You may meet some great people, but the beating you'll take from internal and external factors may be too great to endure.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Numbers are important in a corporate culture, but without a strong sales plan and introduction of sales techniques, all you're going to do is stress out your workers if 'numbers' is all that's emphasized--especially during the holiday season.

    Cutting hours will save money in the short term, but will ultimately make things more difficult for both staff and customers. Far more difficult.

    Put people in areas that /need/ supervision--areas making the highest sales numbers /should have their own leads/, like bargain or magazines. You're stretching your staff /far, far/ too thin by forcing managers or /other, underpaid/ leads to manage high-profit zones. There's a higher rate of theft from neglect, and far less motivation and innovation for displays. Stop forcing face-outs in these areas, as well--bargain quickly runs out of room and everything is shafted to backstock--/which is already full/.

    Stop having corporate run receiving standards unless it's negatively impacting stock and restocking. The receiving manager should be able to control the flow of their area, considering that they usually have little to no staff most days.

    Speaking of corporate--have corporate actively communicate with booksellers (taking in their concerns and ideas, investigating claims, etc.) and localize their chains.There is almost no point in having a regional manager come in if all they're going to do is comment on the furniture and tell us we need to 'change things up' without any practical suggestions.

    Management needs to /properly address/follow through/ on bookseller concerns, whatever they may be. It's very nice to think that you're being 'listened to,' but it's utterly pointless if nothing is done about your complaints.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    I would of loved it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Customer Service Representative in Marietta, GA
    Current Employee - Customer Service Representative in Marietta, GA

    I have been working at Barnes & Noble part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    fun place to work
    nice people
    great perks
    nice atmosphere
    I really liked my job although I only worked there for 3 days. I just got done with high school and this was my "first" job. By the time I got hired on I just started college and didn't have a car. So, the hiring manager told me it would be best if I find a way to work and when I do I can get my job back. Needless to say I am still unemployed, with a car. Other than that I felt really comfortable there. I wished that I had my job back.

    Cons

    I didn't spend enough time over there to get the negatives. People working there have been there for at least 3 years.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Lacking communication

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Fort Wayne, IN
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Fort Wayne, IN

    I worked at Barnes & Noble part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The discount is nice
    Being with like minded people who enjoy books, movies, and geek culture.
    Work is easy to do

    Cons

    The pay isn't that great
    Management doesn't communicate
    Membership quota is a huge part but no incentives are offered to employees to help them meet quota
    Reviews do not occur

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Communicate. Whether it's with your employees or customers! Advertising is a joke, events are rarely successful because there isn't any in store advertising.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Barnes and noble college

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Bookseller in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Bookseller in New York, NY

    I have been working at Barnes & Noble

    Pros

    . Works with your school schedule
     . Good discount

    Cons

    You don't get enough working hours

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give more hours

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Corporate Policy keeps hours low

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Bookseller
    Former Employee - Bookseller

    I worked at Barnes & Noble part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Employee discount is great, store management is very nice but their hands are tied by corporate policies

    Cons

    no health benefits due to hours, low starting pay

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    you lose good employees because of no health benefits and low pay

    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    it was once a great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Cafe Manager
    Former Employee - Cafe Manager

    I worked at Barnes & Noble full-time

    Pros

    work life balance is not too bad

    Cons

    sales goals out of reach

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    good company, good people

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Assistant in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Assistant in New York, NY

    I have been working at Barnes & Noble as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    9-5
    Friendly, nice people
    Good mission
    Free books and discounted movie tickets
    Job security

    Cons

    Promotion is hard to get
    Some groups(merchants, NOOK) have huge turnover and it is really stressful working with them. Attitude alert!
    Pay is not great
    No growth

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Unprofessional managers should be fired

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Good job for college student

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Part Time Book Seller in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Part Time Book Seller in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Barnes & Noble part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Very flexible with class and other activities schedule. Nice discount on books and Starbucks drinks

    Cons

    Store manager is mean. Hours are long. You only get a .25 raise once a year.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Use to be fun, but cut backs in hours and increase in tasks have made it hard to enjoy working here.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Merchandise Manager
    Current Employee - Merchandise Manager

    I have been working at Barnes & Noble full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Books and book people. Employee discount. Working with good people.

    Cons

    Low pay scale. Unrealastic expectations from ccorporate. Constantly changng store layouts. Cuts to most full time positions. Horrible support from distribution and digital tech support. Non-solutions to store issues from higher ups.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start paying the store employees better, for they are the ones who keep the company going.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Just another retail store

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Bookseller
    Current Employee - Bookseller

    I have been working at Barnes & Noble part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Good work environment, great work schedule, good for students.

    Cons

    Management has high expectations from it's employees, however, does nothing to boost employee morale, gives it's part time employees no benefits and offers low pay.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    chill out.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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