Bookstore Chains as the Unsustainable Middle

Further interesting trends in bookstores in my neverending attempt to find a bricks-and-mortar business model that can withstand broadband.

(And if you don’t understand why that’s important to education, well, I don’t have enough time to help you.)

OK, you saw below the recent slump that the chains have hit, compared to Amazon.

Well, here’s a neat fact – Amazon, e-books, and a lousy economy are apparently beating the hell of of the Barnes & Nobles of the world, but according to the Boston Globe independent booksellers have been barely touched:

Nationwide, sales in bookstores of all types fare better than in many businesses. The Census Bureau reports that bookstore sales in January 2009 were virtually unchanged from January 2008, compared with an 8 percent decline in total retail and food service sales. The big chains did not share that good news. Barnes & Noble’s store sales dropped 5 percent last quarter compared with 2007, capping a year that CEO Steve Riggio called “the most challenging year that the company and the industry have ever experienced.” Fourth-quarter sales in Borders superstores plunged 15 percent, and the chain closed 112 of its Waldenbooks locations in 2008.

Interesting, right?

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