Tuesday, August 31, 2010

At Bookstore, Even Non-Buyers Regret Its End

By Julie Bosman in The New York Times
Published: August 30, 2010

On Monday afternoon, Jai Cha walked out of the Barnes & Noble at 66th Street and Broadway in Manhattan as he does nearly every week — without a book.

Photo -Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

The 66th Street Barnes & Noble store, by Lincoln Center, has hosted readings and events focused on the performing arts.

“I’m just killing time,” said Mr. Cha, a 30-year-old lawyer, his hands stuffed deep in his pockets. “I’ve been coming here to read Bill Simmons’s ‘Book of Basketball,’ about a chapter at a time.”

He might have to hurry. Barnes & Noble announced on Monday that at the end of January it would close the store, a four-story space across the street from Lincoln Center that has been a neighborhood landmark since it opened nearly 15 years ago.

“We recognize that this store has been an important part of the fabric of the Upper West Side community since we opened our doors on Oct. 20, 1995,” Mary Ellen Keating, a company spokeswoman, said in a statement. “However, the current lease is at its end of term, and the increased rent that would be required to stay in the location makes it economically impossible for us to extend the lease.”

It has been a bumpy year for Barnes & Noble, the country’s largest book chain, with 720 stores. Sales and store traffic have suffered as the book business has shifted online; Amazon has held its early lead in the e-reader war; and early this month, Barnes & Noble put itself up for sale and is now in the midst of a battle for control of the company with Ronald W. Burkle, the billionaire investor.
Full story at NYT.

This is a store The Bookman knows well because of its proximity to the Lincoln Center where I have attended many opera productions over the years. If I arrived early for the opera I always headed across the road to B&N to fill intime and inevitably buy a book or three. A great loss.

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