The ongoing story of bookstore closures had an especially melancholy chapter this year with the demise of one of the larger big-box chains.
But one of the other larger chains is hoping to pen a better tale by opening 41 new stores, including some in locations left vacant by the chain that closed. It sounds hopeful but this rewrite probably won’t have a happy ending.
Here’s the thing about bookstores. Books are going to go the way of the stamp. Everything is online now where it’s cheaper and faster. Technology makes it easier than ever to bypass the bookstore. First bookstores faced competition from online retailers, and now many customers are ditching paperbacks for e-books on electronic readers.
A book isn’t something a shopper needs to try on. A book isn’t something they’re going to need to look at to decide if they want to buy it. If an author like John Grisham just came out with his new book, customers don’t need to see the book to buy it.
Bookstores have been declining for several years and this retailer, who’s aiming for a reboot, isn’t immune to that trend. The Birmingham, Ala., chain closed 21 stores this year. It has about 210 left, according to an Associated Press article on the Detroit News’ website.
The retailer is opening its new stores mostly in smaller or medium-sized cities.
“Our expansion into these markets represents a substantial opportunity for our company,” said the chain’s president and chief operating officer, in the article.
Source: The Detroit News, October 2011