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New York Times has called for action to save Barnes & Noble, the largest bookstore chain in the United States, after it has been witnessing a steep decline in sales for the eleventh consecutive year – a reality several physical bookstores around the world have been subjected to resulting from the mass shift in consumer behaviour who have turned to online purchases on websites like Amazon. Barnes & Noble has suffered losses up to $1 billion in the past five years.
“It is depressing to imagine that more than 600 Barnes & Noble stores might simply disappear. But the death of Barnes & Noble is now plausible,” New York Times wrote a couple weeks ago.
Prior to 2010, the famous bookstore chain was a key player in the US book market, and the idea of opening branches in streets, not just shopping malls and trade centres, was widely welcomed by readers at that time.
According to the latest statistics, Amazon now sells half of books in the US, meaning one out of two books. Amazon makes up 50% of the book market, posing a serious challenge not only to bookstores and libraries but also to publishers. This may lead publishing houses to untimely submit to the terms of the world’s most famous online bookstore in order to market their publications.