Editor's Note: Rising From the Ashes of Retail Giants
A voracious reader from when I first started to string words into sentences, some very fond memories of my childhood are visiting the tiny, but bursting-at-the-seams-with-books independent bookstore on the main street in my hometown. I could spend hours browsing through the shelves, discovering new and different titles—and new and different worlds—until my mother begrudgingly pulled me out. As with so many other book buyers, the Internet forever changed the way I shopped for and purchased books. Nowadays, because of the obvious benefits of speed, convenience and selection, I purchase most of my books—in both print and digital formats—online from either Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com. Occasionally, when I have the time to browse, I'll visit my local Barnes & Noble or an independent bookstore, including that one in my hometown, which surprisingly is still in business, even after all these years.
When I first started working for Book Business, more than three years ago, most of the articles I read about the book retail landscape talked about how bookstore giants Borders and Barnes & Noble, online retailer Amazon.com, and big-box retailers like Target and Wal-Mart, were helping to put the nail in the independent bookstore coffin. Now, it appears a new tide is starting to turn.
On Aug. 4, Barnes & Noble announced in a press release that its board of directors was going to "evaluate strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company, in order to increase stockholder value." A few weeks later, the company again made headlines when it announced that it was shuttering its 60,000-square-foot store near Lincoln Center in New York City. Around the same time, Borders announced that it had experienced yet another loss in total sales in its quarter ending July 31, and that it would be adding more non-book product in its physical stores.