13 January 2014

Is the Age of National Chain Bookstores Coming to an End?




I read an article recently on the Gothamist that a well known New York Barnes and Noble location is shutting down. This article followed up on the tale end of a blog post I read on one of my fellow blogger's site RD Meyer's Writes.

Is it just me or is this a little disconcerting?

By 2011, all Border's bookstores had shutdown and as a result, left a very vacant building in an outdoor mall where I live and in many other cities. For me, Borders was the only bookstore in the little mall and I noticed an immediate drop in mall traffic. A beautiful Friday night felt more like a Wednesday morning. But luckily, a Barnes and Noble took it's place and it revived the mall traffic.

But I wonder now how long this will last and how many more Barnes and Nobles will have to close before it meets the fate of Borders? The national chain bookstores are no longer a staple
in our society and while it may seem like the independents have finally won, I'm not so sure anymore.

What's taking it's place is the rise in ebook sales. Just think of Amazon's Kindle (which so far, Barnes and Noble has failed to compete with) that has risen in sales (up 8 percent from last year according to CNET).

So far I haven't adapted to ereading. I still love the smell and feel of a real book and I'm not sure that will ever change (even when my future grandkids say to me, "Grandma, what's those blocks with paper in them?"). But I haven't been giving my money to Barnes and Noble either (or really, any store). I'm a library kind of girl and even the libraries are beginning to catch on the e-trend.

What does this mean for the bookstore era? Will we soon be downloading ebooks at redbox locations?

More than what this means for ebooks and books in general, as I'm sure books will change with the times like music had to change. But is there a need for bookstores anymore or are old
fashion book readers like me just hanging onto an era?

10 comments:

  1. i think the books store as we remember them declined some time ago, when huge superstores (like B&N and Borders) squeezed smaller, more intimate stores out of business. What goes around comes around, i guess.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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    Replies
    1. Very true - they are getting what the gave out so many years ago, aren't they?

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  2. I think small independent bookstores will take the place of Barnes and Noble and BAM because they offer more personal service and have a more homey atmosphere. I like ebooks, but I don't think they'll take the place of print. They'll be more of an alternative.

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    Replies
    1. Same here! E-books will never compare to the real paper book I can hold in my hand! :)

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  3. I'm guessing bookstores will close, but I hope the public libraries stick around longer. Something has to be considered sacred. It's a shame.

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    Replies
    1. I hope libraries are here for good. They struggle but they are so much a part of community that I would hate to see them crumble!

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  4. I hope the bookstore doesn't close, but it has to find a way to adapt to the modern market. And while I read e-books, I love the feel of "real" books, preferring them over e-books whenever possible. If only my library was large enough to hold all of what I like...

    Thanks for the link!

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    Replies
    1. I really hope bookstores learn to adapt! So many music stores closed because of the rise of the digital age, I would hate to see that happen to bookstores.

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  5. Before moving, I used to go to a B&N that still did a lot of business. However, a good portion of the store was dedicated to Nooks and e-reading.

    The place where I now live has closed both B&N that were convenient for me.The closest one is a forty-five minute drive.

    I agree with RD that bookstores need to adapt to survive. I do think libraries will be around for a while longer, but, a librarian I know said that libraries are being adversely affected by the popularity of e-books. Some e-book publishers won't work with libraries, while others withhold e-books for a period of time.

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    Replies
    1. Yah it seems with the rise of e-books is the fear that publishers won't make as much money. I hope we find some way to keep the best of both the digital and the printed worlds.

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