I have to say I’m shocked. The Barnes & Noble store at Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street is closing at the end of the year. I walked by last night and didn’t even look in the window. But then who would have thought that humongous store on 6th Ave in Chelsea where Trader Joe’s now is would ever have closed?
Great piece here by Roger Friedman reliving some of the history of former nearby book stores (Marlboro, Wilentz Books) that were no longer once Barnes & Noble arrived. I had no idea that that location was previously a B. Dalton! From his piece, Barnes & Noble Closing Greenwich Village Store, Their Destruction of Book Biz Nearly Complete:
A sign has gone up in the window of the Barnes & Noble on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Eighth St: they are closing on December 31st. In the mid 1980s, Barnes & Noble swallowed up Marboro Books, Bookmasters and B Dalton, among other booksellers. They killed off small booksellers all over the country, eventually destroying business for many beloved New York landmarks like Colosseum, Books & Co., Gotham, Doubleday, and many others. St. Marks Bookstore, in its reduced form, is rumored to be downsizing and moving again.
B&N wanted to rule the world. They took over the B Dalton store at what used to be the gateway of Greenwich Village, but also added a behemoth store at 21st and Sixth (now gone), Lincoln Center (now gone), and downsized the famous main store at Fifth Avenue and 18th st. On upper Fifth Avenue, they ravaged Scribner Books, the best bookstore in New York, which became Rizzoli and is now a Benetton or some clothier. …
I was working at the B&N outpost on Third Avenue and 59th St. in 1979 when the destruction began. I was in college, and had been reassigned from Marboro on West Eighth St. when B&N bought that chain and killed it. You could see the future: at that moment, truck drivers and maintenance people had been promoted to store managers by the hippie HR guy who thought it was all very funny. No one knew anything about books. No one cared. A customer once walked into our store and asked for “books by Singer”– meaning Isaac Bashevis Singer. He was directed by our night manager to the Singer sewing store on 57th and Third.
You can read the rest here.