Closing the bookIt got a year’s reprieve, but Grand Forks’ last brand-name bookstore, B. Dalton at Columbia Mall, will close Friday.
It got a year’s reprieve, but Grand Forks’ last brand-name bookstore, B. Dalton at Columbia Mall, will close Friday.
So, as the New Year rolls around, Grand Forks — home of the UND Writer’s Conference and the city that recently hosted “The Big Read” — no longer will have a brand name bookstore.
Barnes & Noble, owner of B. Dalton, announced in November 2009 that it would close its Grand Forks Columbia Mall bookstore at the end of 2009 as part of its plan to close all B. Dalton stores. But the Grand Forks store stayed open, manager Katie Budde said.
“The only thing I know is that our lease was different than the others (stores),” she said.
Until 2009, Columbia Mall had two name-brand bookstore tenants, B. Dalton and Waldenbooks. Waldenbooks closed more than a year ago. After B. Dalton closes, it will have none.
Barnes & Noble had operated the UND bookstore for 10 years before it lost its lease in March 2009. Today, the store is called the UND Bookstore and, as before, it carries some new popular book titles. Mostly, however, it devotes its space to textbooks, university clothing and other items.
Grand Forks also has a couple of used bookstores, as well as big-box stores that carry bestsellers and thrift stores that sell secondhand books.
In today’s market, fewer chain superstore bookstores remain, along with a handful of independents, and electronic devices such as Nook and Kindle are gaining a larger portion of the market.
Still, bookstores are important to devoted readers, Budde said. Customers can still browse the titles on the shelves, and pick up the books and read them before they buy. Also, a good bookstore can offer the kind of customer service customers won’t find online, Budde said.
Budde said she will take a job with a Barnes & Noble bookstore in another town. In all, the Grand Forks store had three full-time employees and five part-time employees.
According to its website, Barnes & Noble is the No. 1 bookseller in the U.S., operating about 1,255 bookstores including 729 superstores and another 635 college bookstores. In North Dakota, there are Barnes & Nobles in Fargo, Bismarck and Minot.
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