A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the trouble facing Barnes and Noble. Not long after that post, the company’s executive, Mitchell Klipper, told the Wall Street Journal that 20 stores will close every year over the next decade. The article points out that since 2003 15 stores per year has closed; however, the company opened more than 30 per year. During the last fiscal year, the company closed 14 stores and didn’t open any.
Without any new openings, the closures would reduce the number of stores by a third. As I’ve said in the previous blog post, all of these closings make it unclear how long Barnes & Noble will be able to stick around, especially since the sale of print books is rapidly dropping (22 percent over the last five years, according to Nielsen Bookscan).
The irony of all this is that Borders and Barnes & Noble led to the closure of countless community indie bookstores, and now if Barnes & Noble ultimately meets the fate of Borders, then no bookstores will be left.