In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mitchell Klipper, CEO of Barnes & Noble's retail group, laid out plans for the national book chain. One of the biggest takeaways from that interview was that Barnes & Noble will close about 20 stores per year over the course of the next decade, cutting about a third of the bookseller's brick-and-mortar stores.
Barnes & Noble is not the only retailer to face stiff competition from digital content in recent years. In the past decade, we've seen the downfall of Borders Group Inc. (B&N's former rival), Tower Records, and Circuit City Stores, amongst others. It is not hard to imagine that one day in the future, booksellers will eventually become a thing of the past.
In 2008, Barnes & Noble peaked at 726 stores. By 2023, Klipper estimates that number will fall to about 450 or 500.
Even though Klipper says one-third of Barnes & Nobles' retail stores will close in the next ten years, he's not ready to concede defeat just yet. He says, there's only a handful of the chain's stores - about 20 - that are losing money. The rest are still making a profit.