Barnes & Noble

  www.barnesandnoble.com
  www.barnesandnoble.com

Barnes & Noble Reviews

Updated December 16, 2014
Updated December 16, 2014
1,186 Reviews
3.4
1,186 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Michael Huseby
174 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

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    A great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Store Manager in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Assistant Store Manager in San Diego, CA

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

    Pros

    Strong history of internal promotion. If you work hard and continue to grow and learn you can be promoted. A respectful environment.

    Cons

    There is a lot of detail to learn here.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2.  

    Bookseller

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

    I worked at Barnes & Noble part-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Excellent working atmosphere for part time employees, book worms and self styled geeks of all types. If you have an excellent customer service attitude and a lot of energy, this is the job for you.

    Cons

    Hours will vary. Slow times of the year you may only get 8 hours a week. Be prepared to work extremely hard during the holiday season. This job is more physical than you think.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep communication lines open with all employees. If they are under stress due to lack of hours, try to be accommodating.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  3.  

    Just Great

    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Barnes & Noble full-time

    Pros

    Fast paced and ever changing

    Cons

    None while I was working

  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5.  

    Great atmoshere

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

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

    Pros

    good employee discount, fair salary

    Cons

    no chance for advancement, work holidays

    Recommends
  6.  

    Working conditions, Worker Relations, and Benefits- unbeatable in retail

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Assistant Store Manager in New Orleans, LA
    Current Employee - Assistant Store Manager in New Orleans, LA

    I have been working at Barnes & Noble full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Managers are scrutinized and judged on their relationships with booksellers constantly. National, regional, and district focus is put on employee relations and promoting a great work environment. This gives one of the most welcoming atmospheres I've ever been in for work. And, of course, bookstores draw interesting employees. Recent product changes have drawn the attention of more extroverted, salesmanship driven applicants, which brings a great balance, but does not overwhelm the more quiet, explorative base of the usual applicants.

    The company also spends on employee work conditions, offering paid time off to every employee that has been with the company for six months, offering larger than average discounts in store, special weeks of increased discounts, partnerships with other major services trading discount (e.g. sprint and AT&T, even stuff like flowers.com), offers salary advances, phenomenal insurance to full-time employees, constant bookseller community communications and recognition, and a California standards-based work/break system.

    Overall, you cannot beat the usual environment at Barnes and Noble.

    Being a national chain, surviving the recession and the four horsemen of amazon, and opening to more product lines shows longevity for business. A concentration on business ethics, research, and transparency gives great experience to all levels of employment that you just don't find with many retailers. Booksellers are fully in the know about sales, trends, company direction, goals, short fallings, almost everything affecting the company. You really become invested and part of a company, in the real sense of the word,not just a labor purchase.

    Company moves people up from within. There is quick vertical movement in the retail chain from a good training program and tendency to trust in employees.

    Cons

    Full-time positions have drastically dropped in past two years. Entry level positions can no longer be full-time. This has left the company with a vacuum of expertise on the lower end. Though they have confronted this problem head on with a new streamlined training program, it will take time for the previous level of acumen to be brought back into the company.

    Managers for Barnes and Noble did not need to worry about turn over so much in the past due to the strong focus the company invests in booksellers, but with recent organizational changes, it will take time for managers to handle the new business model. Task effort and allocation has not been reduced in the meantime so it has take longer than necessary to culture proficiency.

    Also, very low starting wages. Stead raises, yearly, not impressive without promotion in the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The management that booksellers interact with tries very hard to meet company standards, very high set standards. If a bookseller uses all the resources available to them from corporate, they will never have trouble with management. Corporate will always lean to the side of the bookseller. Managers are very much held accountable to ethical decisions regarding bookseller work conditions.

    Advice to the company would be to draw more towards core sales and hand selling. We can pull fluidity towards our digital developments better by attacking the margins, the upselling, than with looking for the next bog trend with product acquisition. Pulling away from a consignment model is leaving the retail side open to risk, which we inherently have to carry already in the digital branch by breaking into the market. If we lowered loss on acquisitions, increased sales marginally, we could direct the money towards marketing our digital devices better. Our competitors have inferior products, but are beating us on word of mouth.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7.  

    Overall a good atmosphere

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Head Cashier in Hackensack, NJ
    Former Employee - Head Cashier in Hackensack, NJ

    I worked at Barnes & Noble full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Flexible hours, 50% off cafe items, friendly staff, room for advancement, benefits for F/T.

    Cons

    Learn the job on the fly, limited training, holidays can get crazy though time moves quicker, low starting pay

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do a bit better job discussing promotion from within. P/T employees should get some tier of benefits.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Best Retail Work Experience

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

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

    Pros

    Managers willing to work with you on schedule. Pay equal to or better than most retail positions. Managers take time to make things fun for employees by providing food or creating team building activities.

    Cons

    Cafe work can be stressful. Few opportunities for promotion.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    pretty decent

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Cafe Server in Fayetteville, NC
    Current Employee - Cafe Server in Fayetteville, NC

    I have been working at Barnes & Noble

    Pros

    honestly, I love my coworkers, and the environment is super progressive as a whole. I'm super over-qualified to work as a cafe server but i stay here because they're cool with tattoos/piercings and very LGBTQ friendly, even in the conservative neck of north carolina (fayetteville). The customers are hit or miss, some are super nice and some are not so nice to put it kindly, but i've never worked anywhere else so i'm not sure if that's only in military towns where everyone has a transient mentality.

    Cons

    benefits suck, well rather, lack thereof I should say. Pay sucks, in fayetteville at least. Most of the managers on book floor are incompetent, like how they got hired I'd love to know. As i've mentioned earlier, the customers are mostly irritable retired military so they're mean and you've stained their day by your mere existence and the fact that you're a millenial. Besides that, though, it's alright.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    honestly, benefits would be super. Corporate Starbucks employees get a 401k, bluecross blueshield insurance, free take home coffee grounds every week, free coffee. Stop making me pay half price for my coffee. It's insulting on top of the fact that I get NO TIPS. They seriously need to work on that. let me put out a tip jar. don't charge me for the coffee. that's all I ask.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    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
  11.  

    They will not be around much longer because they forget how important their employees are to their success

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

    I have been working at Barnes & Noble

    Pros

    30% discount
    vaction time for full time

    Cons

    the company is customer-centric, but their are never enough hours available to hire and schedule enough employees to meet customer needs
    everyone does the job of several people
    the pay is low, so a lot of employees are unreliable kids
    the cafe servers have to do the work of a starbucks employee without the perks or pay

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    reconsider your priorites:
    you want to supply books to customers in person in tha age of technology, the only reason people still go to bookstores is because they want the customer care. invest in your employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

Work at Barnes & Noble? Share Your Experiences

Barnes & Noble

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.