Local Barnes & Noble Closing After 17 Years


Alice Wolf and Daisy Rodas

Earlier this year, Corte Madera Town Center’s Barnes & Noble announced via social media that the store would be closing its doors after 17 years of being a staple bookstore in the Bay Area. The store’s announcement of its departure was followed by a final sale of up to 40 percent off all items until its closure date of March 12. Patrons soon saw the bookstore’s merchandise quickly begin to deplete and shelves that had previously been brimming with books became bare. There is no clear reason why Barnes & Noble decided to close abruptly; Leaving readers to scatter to online bookstores as well as other local options.

A Sophomore student at Terra Linda High School, Isobel Ganguly, said the store closing is upsetting to her because it is a place she frequents. “Barnes and Noble is the place to go and I feel like the most convenient bookstore for me.” Ganguly continued to express very highly about how this local bookstore is a great place to browse, purchase books, and connect with others through the experience it brings. However, she doesn’t think this change will cause people to start to read more digitally. “I feel like for a lot of people, especially me, smelling the books and holding them is definitely a part of it so I don’t think digital reading could take over.” She adds on to say, “I am really disappointed, it was so fun going into Barnes and Noble and I don’t know why it’s closing but it’s so sad.” This just goes to show how a bookstore can create a community not just for Ganguly but for others as well and it can leave such a long-lasting impression among readers around the area.

Sahaj Malik, another Sophomore student, expressed similar dismay at the well known bookstore leaving. In particular, she enjoyed their extensive selection of books and said, “It was a huge place with so many books, so I’m very sad that it’s leaving.” Malik mentioned how she frequented the business, especially over the past couple of years, and that she feels this turn of events will affect her book-buying habits. “Copperfield’s is there but I feel like Barnes & & Noble is where more people go,” she said, referring to another local bookstore with several branches nearby.

On the other hand, Kaj Kibak, an English teacher at TL, is not disappointed to see Barnes and Noble go. Kibak mentioned many reasons why its closing was better for smaller bookstores, “I do hope that there is a return to smaller bookstores where people can participate in different conversations and talk about books, which might make it more about the process of reading and not just buying and consuming literature.” He pursues this thought by talking about how Barnes & Noble became like a Costco for books and that it was very ironic that Amazon was doing what it did to smaller books stores. However, Kibak did mention, “I feel like it’s unfortunate to see any business close. You don’t want to see businesses close that people have worked hard for and it’s employing people in the area so I want to be respectful of that.”

Community member and avid book reader Joanne Vincent reflected that she also isn’t inconvenienced much by Barnes & Noble closing and that she was already taking advantage of other alternatives to bookstores even before this announcement. “It won’t affect [my book-buying habits] because during covid I got used to buying on Amazon and also using the pop-up library at Northgate. It’s very convenient.” She is quite partial to the Bay Area’s public libraries and is optimistic that they may become more heavily relied on and will attract more people now. Vincent said, “I think people who are very interested in reading will find other outlets.”

While it is always sad to see a long-time business close its doors, community members can take comfort in the fact that there are still many stores with a wide selection of books, new or used, located throughout Marin. This otherwise disappointing news can be turned into a positive opportunity to shop locally, take advantage of communal libraries, and support small businesses.