Let me say at the start that I like B&N. I like that in any city I find myself in, chances are good a familiar and predictable Barnes & Noble bookstore will be there. It's a great place to spend some time, to browse bestsellers, and use the now-free wifi whilst sipping an extra hot decaf mocha (my personal favorite). But B&N is not, I repeat NOT a place for book related research (unless you are interested in observing people, how people move through & B&N bookstore, and/or in what manner they utilize the cafe space.)
I know better. I'm a librarian by profession and inclination. Though some libraries are considering a more bookstore-based display system, I'm a big fan of keeping the current classification systems. Dewey Decimal, Library of Congress and an online catalog make locating a particular book easy peasy. Really. I just spent the past hour in B&N trying to locate several children's picture book for an MFA project. In a good public library it would take maybe 5 minutes, 10 tops to locate the 3 titles I eventually found here at B&N. But that's okay. I came for the coffee, the no-direct-cost-to-me internet access and thought I might find a few more books for my MFA project. It's good reminder...independent booksellers, chain bookstores and libraries all have their purpose and place.
And now, back to my latte (which costs me less than one at a stand alone Starbucks thanks to my B&N member card.) - aae