For bookstore chains, 2011 brought the ominous bankruptcy filing of Borders, the US’ second largest bookseller. Now, Bloomberg reports that Barnes & Noble?(B&N), the country’s biggest, is soon likely to end a fruitless, months-long search for a buyer.
The problems for both chains have been a surge in competition from online booksellers and a rapidly growing market for ebooks. The Internet has made books more accessible than ever, transcending physical barriers to buying and selling. In B&N’s case, prospective buyers reportedly balked at the chain’s moderate digital prospects.
In a way, that continues an earlier trend in the books market. Large bookstore chains such as Borders and B&N put many small booksellers out of business in the last few decades, as buyers flocked to the wide variety of titles these chains could offer under one roof. Ironically for them, the Internet has now trumped them in their backyard.