Mar 1, 2023 - Economy

"You've Got Mail" is "garbage" but in a good way, Barnes & Noble CEO says

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star in the 1998 film "You've Got Mail." Photo: Getty Images/Handout

Barnes & Noble has lived long enough to see itself become the hero of the bookselling world.

The big question: Now that the chain is viewed as the underdog to Amazon, I asked CEO James Daunt whether he's seen "You've Got Mail."

Context: The company was not-so-opaquely cast as the corporate villain in the 1998 film (though it was not explicitly named).

What he said: Daunt saw it for the first time recently, he says with a laugh.

  • "It was garbage," the British executive says.

Startled at his review, I followed up, as any good journalist would do.

  • "I mean, it's fun. I did like it. In the U.K., calling something garbage is actually a term of affection," he replied.

💭 Our thought bubble: As Tom Hanks pleads in the film, we can forgive a big-box chain "for this tiny little thing of putting you out of business," but we will not sit idly by while anyone disparages a great American film.

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