Local Barnes & Noble closing after 28 years of service

by Yethmie Goonatilleke, Editor-in-Chief

For the past 28 years, the Barnes & Noble in Paramus, New Jersey has served countless customers and booklovers in the North Jersey area. Set to close in early March, Paramus and the surrounding area will lose a distinctive, beloved bookstore. 

The Paramus B&N contained a variety of unique sections. The back of the store features a sales annex with numerous used books, offered at a discount price. Patrons can take a seat at the café area and browse through their book selections, while grabbing a quick bite to eat. The kids’ section contains playful decorations such as a stage. And of course, with an impressive selection of books, there’s truly something valuable for every person in the Paramus B&N. 

It may come as no surprise to see a Barnes & Noble branch close — in the past few years, Amazon has proven itself as a formidable competitor to independent bookstores and mega-chains alike. According to IBISWorld, Amazon accounts for more than half of all book sales in the United States. Additionally, eBooks have assumed a large portion of the bookselling market, effectively diminishing the need for classic, paperback and hardcover books. 

Barnes & Noble has combated against these external factors— they adopted an eReader, the Nook, in 2009. Barnes & Noble sales have actually increased, as they are up three percent compared to their sales in 2019. Still, many Barnes & Nobles across the country have been closing, due to storefront leases up for renewal. 

What’s ironic about Barnes & Noble is that it was actually once considered a villain to independent booksellers and other mega-chains such as Borders. Yet now, Barnes & Noble highlights the importance of bookstores, and the Paramus branch closing is a major loss to our community. 

“It was my happy place as an avid reader and book lover,” says Gabbi Krachenfels, a senior at the high school. 

With brick-and-mortar bookstores, customers can spend time browsing through a wide variety of books. Sometimes, this can greatly benefit lesser known authors, whose novels might get picked up unexpectedly. As the closest Barnes & Noble to Glen Rock is now closing, people will likely resort to buying online, eliminating this aspect of discovery found in a brick-and-mortar bookstore. 

Additionally, bookstores create a space for communities to gather in, bringing local readers and authors together. The Barnes & Noble in Paramus commonly featured different events on the second floor, allowing authors to interact with avid readers. 

While online bookstores can be incredibly efficient, there’s a missing factor to them— that sense of community that is only found in stores. Though the news of Barnes & Noble is saddening, it only underscores the importance of supporting local bookstores. Through these stores, timeless memories and a sense of community are created.