I'm saddened to read that "Borders Accelerates Closing of Walden Outlets". I worked for Waldenbooks while in college, and they remained my primary retail outlet for the next ten years. I enjoyed the small, familiar store size and the staff where "everybody knew my name". I just don't get that with the larger Borders.
Publishers Weekly has more details on Waldenbooks closings, with the offline version of the story includes a map of closings by state. The hardest hit seem to be Pennsylvania and Ohio, with 24 and 16 closures, respectively. Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and Hawaii are untouched, though I don't know how many stores they have, or how proportionate those that are closing are to those that are remaining open.
It seems an oversight to close a chain that serves a demographic Borders does not. When I was a kid, the local mall was robust enough to support two bookstores, one of which was a Waldenbooks. Now that mall has none, as its Waldenbooks (my alma mater) closed in January 2007, followed by the Auburn location in 2008 and Worcester in 2009.
In an email exchange, Leominster fantasy author R.A. Salvatore commented to me on the loss of his local Waldenbooks: "Ah crap. The loss of mall bookstores is one of the biggest losses to my industry and to American culture — they serve people the big box bookstores don't get to."
Are malls themselves on their way out? Or is there an erroneous perception that mall-goers don't buy books?