Thank you to Daily Show writer and erstwhile culture blogger Daniel Radosh for wading through all the laments for the supposedly imminent demise of bookseller Barnes & Noble and pointing out an obvious truth about the corporate behemoth:
Articles lamenting Amazon's murder of *wonderful* Barnes & Noble superstores remind me of stories 15 yrs ago w/B&N as evil killer of indies.— Daniel Radosh (@danielradosh) July 26, 2013
Radosh goes on to cite several articles that depict the Barnes & Noble of the 1990s as a destroyer of the independent bookseller. That suggests that those who bemoan the chain's inability to compete with Amazon may have short memories, as they seem to have forgotten that Barnes & Noble was, until very recently, widely despised for its homogenizing force.
First, Radosh links to a hauntingly prescient 1993 report in The New York Times that suggests that independent booksellers would suffer from the encroachment of Barnes & Noble on their landscape:
Skeptics predict that such stores will force hundreds of independent bookstores out of business, giving Americans fewer choices and leaving publishers at the mercy of a few very large buyers.
Of course, nobody had any idea that Barnes & Noble would itself be dominated by Amazon in the new millennium.