How many of our major cities no longer have a Barnes & Noble? San Francisco doesn’t, though a shortish ride out of the city center will take you to one. Washington DC is about to lose its last according to The Digital Reader. B & N themselves say “As of August 1, 2015, the Company operated 647 retail bookstores in regional shopping malls, major strip centers and freestanding locations in 50 states.”

I’m not sure I’d altogether agree with this comment from the Digital Reader piece: “While indie bookstores are great, they tend to cater to niche audiences and/or the literati. What’s great about the big chains is that they cater to everyone and you can browse and find surprises and gift ideas you never expected. I am not going to venture to the suburbs to try to find a bricks and mortar store, especially given Metro’s dysfunction. So, I guess I’ll be ordering all my books online now.” If only chain bookstores catered to everyone. Far too many people never buy a book anywhere. Any bookstore closing reduces the opportunities to buy — for everyone.

Does this news point in the other direction? Today Amazon is opening their first bricks-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle.