Depends on the Store, I suppose.
Pros: Good employee discounts
Cons: Hours often cut significantly and without warning; No advancement
In my experience with Barnes and Noble, I found that the negatives--some par for the course in a retail position, unfortunately--far outweighed the positives. This may very well have been a product of the store I worked with, as there are many people who truly enjoy working for the company.
The culture of this particular store lacks accountability. There is very much an attitude of "It wasn't me" when something has been done wrong or hasn't been done at all, when what the store needed was someone with a solution. Management in particular was quick to wash their hands of certain problems and were often too vocal about their dislike of the store, the customers, and other employees. Most frustratingly, there was an extreme "customer is always right" policy at this store that, while it was to the benefit of the shopper, was often at the expense of an employees credibility. There were many times that I stood my ground with customers regarding store policies, only to have that immediately undone by a manager who didn't feel like arguing. This gives employees the feeling that store policies are not flexible, but arbitrary, and it devalues an employee's ability to make decisions about conduct.
The position of head cashier is described (by some) as a bridge between management and staff, but the head cashier at this store is essentially someone they can leave alone on the register for 40 hours a week while the staff and management stand at the Customer Service desk conversing. A number of assistant managers came and went during my time at this store, and every time they went, I – more... was told that I was not and would not be considered for a promotion. Not because I didn't deserve it, but because I was "so good" as head cashier, they didn't want to lose that. Do not expect promotions or raises (outside of the standard 25 or 50 cents every year). At least at this particular store, the head cashier is all of the duties of an assistant manager, plus sole responsibility for the registers, at a rate of pay that is not commensurate with the work. – less