Washingtonians spend more money than anyone else on reading materials, but apparently they’re not doing enough of that purchasing in brick and mortar stores.
Barnes & Nobles said in a statement Friday that it would be shuttering its last location in the District not affiliated with a university at the end of the year.
The bookstore, located on the corner of 12th and E streets NW, was unable to reach an agreement with its landlord to extend its lease and will be looking for a replacement location in the near future, a Barnes & Noble official wrote in an emailed statement. Washington City Paper first reported on the closure.
“Despite our best efforts to come to an agreement with the property owner to extend the lease, they have decided to move forward with another tenant and the store will close at the end of December,” David Deason, vice president of development, wrote. “The Washington, DC community is extremely important to us.”
But, if Barnes & Noble does not find a replacement location by Dec. 31, that would leave D.C. without any traditional, big bookstore chains. There will also not be any bookstores downtown selling new books.
Barnes & Noble shut its Georgetown location at the end of 2011, and the chain’s store in Union Station closed in 2013 and was replaced with an H&M. (Howard University and Catholic University both have Barnes & Noble-operated school book stores, with Catholic’s opening just two years ago.)
Borders went out of business in 2011. And Books-A-Million — the Alabama-based book chain that had a prominently located outpost in Dupont Circle — shut its doors July 18, with no plans to relocate in the District.
Now that’s not to say D.C. is without any bookstores. The city is home to a number of renowned independent and used bookstores, including Politics & Prose in Cleveland Park, Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle, Carpe Librum in the downtown area and Capitol Hill Books.
And book lovers have at least some reason to celebrate. Last year, Upshur Books, an independent bookstore that hosts many literary events, opened in Petworth.