Halloween seems like an appropriate time to discuss a ghastly trend.
Across America bookstores are dying.
In Austin, the first sign of trouble was the closing of two stores called the Bookstop. I don’t know if they shut down at the same time, or one after the other. All I remember is walking up to their doors and seeing empty shelves through darkened windows.
But they were the first and I hardly noticed their passing.
Then a B. Dalton’s closed. But I could rationalize its death, too. It was in an older mall, I told myself. Fewer people were heading there and it couldn’t offer shoppers the glamour of the newer malls in town.
Besides, I got great bargains at the close out sale.
And then they built the Domain, a brand new shopping center with 1,300,000 square feet of retail space. That’s right. Over one million. It offered shoppers retail stores galore. Dillard’s. Macey’s. Neiman Marcus—and a Barnes and Noble.
Now whenever I headed to that part of town, or close to that part of town, or a reasonable drive away from that part of town, I stopped by. It might have been my imagination, but this two-story bookstore seemed larger than any other in town.
The Domain has been a great success. Whenever I go there, I wonder how Americans can need so much. Perfume. Jewelry. Shoes. And clothes. High-end clothes. Casual clothes. Specialty shops featuring just jeans, shoes, or children’s attire.
Everything it seems but a bookstore.
My Barnes & Noble has closed .
It was like a death in the family and I couldn’t rationalize it away. This mall was big, new, and very popular. Apparently shoppers need 1.3 million square feet of retail space.
They just don’t need a book store.