Barnes & Noble closed a number of stores across the country at the end of the year, nearly all of them apparently due to lease expirations. The bookseller typically has a large number of leases up for renewal in any given year; they indicated in 2011 that 129 leases will expire and/or renew in 2012, and the company has shown a willingness to close locations where they believe the revised rent is unsustainable. Local news reports indicate that at least seven stores have closed in the following cities (we are awaiting confirmation from the company):
Los Angeles, CA (Westside Pavilion)
Washington, DC (Georgetown neighborhood)
East Lansing, MI
St. Louis, MO (Crestwood Mall)
Seattle, WA (U-Village)
Among independent stores, Bodhi Tree Bookstore in Los Angeles closed as previously announced, though the owners “were optimistic that the bookstore would be reborn at a different location just outside West Hollywood. They are in negotiations with a potential buyer of the Bodhi Tree name, its website and database.”
Toronto’s Glad Day Bookshop, “believed to be the oldest gay and lesbian book store in the world and the first of its kind in Canada” according to the Toronto Star, is up for sale after a drop in sales in 2010.
In brighter news, St. Louis’s Independent Bookstore Alliance is credited with helping many of the participating stores succeed as “several called 2011 one of their best years.” Vicki Erwin of Main Street Books said this was her best year yet, noting “the Alliance and the raising awareness of local bookstores was major.” The closing of 10 chain stores in the area may have helped as well.