Books-A-Million — the Alabama-based book chain with a prominently located outpost on Dupont Circle — is shuttering its doors July 18 and has no plans to relocate in the District, a store employee said Wednesday.
Karen Sickles, the store’s assistant manager, said the D.C. bookstore “lost” its lease and is selling its remaining inventory at discounted prices until it closes later this month. In 2014, First Potomac Realty Trust purchased 11 Dupont Circle, the building where Books-A-Million is located, for $89 million.
Like the rest of the country, the District has lost most of its big bookstores in recent years. Barnes & Noble shut its Georgetown location at the end of 2011, and the chain’s store in Union Station closed in 2013, leaving one Barnes & Noble left in the city. (Howard University and Catholic University both have Barnes & Noble-operated school book stores.) Borders went out of business in 2011.
D.C. — often ranked the most literate city in the country by some dubious standards — still has some recognizable names in the independent bookstore arena, like Politics & Prose in Cleveland Park, Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle, Carpe Librum in the downtown area and Capitol Hill Books. Smaller ones, mostly in the Capitol Hill, Dupont and Georgetown areas, also have kept their doors open. Most recently, a new independent bookstore, Upshur Books, opened in Petworth last year.
Still, D.C. has lost many independent bookstores, including Olsson’s Books & Records and Newman Bookstore.
Books-A-Million still has locations in Maryland, including Greenbelt, Columbia and Laurel. In Virginia, it has stores in Dulles and Woodbridge.
Books-A-Million’s corporate office and First Potomac Realty Trust didn’t respond to comment on what will happen with the space.