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The End: Palm Coast’s Books-A-Million, Flagler’s Only General-Interest Bookstore, Is Closing

| March 27, 2014

books a million closing

Get used to the emptiness. (c FlaglerLive)

As far as Birmingham-based Books-A-Million Inc., its Palm Coast store is already history. The 6-year-old store in the Target shopping center in Town Center no longer appears on the company website’s list of stores, nor does it show up on a store-locator map, though it remains open for a few more days.

The store itself on Wednesday announced an everything-must-go sale ahead of closure, ending Palm Coast’s very brief romance with a bookstore larger than an attic. It is the latest in a series of store-by-store closings this year: In the last six weeks alone, Books-A-Million closed stores in Hoover, Ala., Columbia, S.C., and Roseville, Mich. Barnes and Noble, the only other large bookseller left, is closing 20 stores a year nationwide. Borders went bankrupt in 2011.

“Im disappointed, I hate to see any business go out of business,” Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts, himself an avid reader, said this morning. “I think the closure is a sign of the times. Even my wife has gotten accustomed to her Kindle, and you can go on Amazon and download books for free or for 99 cents. I’ve been reading books on my tablet also, but the other day I borrowed a book from a friend of mine, a paperback book. It’s just more enjoyable to read a real book.”


The company has not told Palm Coast why it was closing the store. Flagler County Chamber of Commerce officials heard about the closure on Wednesday, but did not know more about it. Calls to the company’s headquarters were not returned this morning.

Online competition from Amazon, where books are it is virtually impossible not to find a title, and where books are sold more cheaply than in stores, the rapidly rising popularity and immediate availability of digital and audio books, and even the renaissance in the popularity of public libraries, which now make digital and audio lending routine, have all demolished the box-store bookseller business model. In larger towns, independent and specialty booksellers have weathered the shocks and downsizing they experienced in previous years and are showing signs of vitality. But with isolated exceptions, Palm Coast will have no bookstore of note to pick up where Books-A-Million will leave off.

Last week Books-A-Million announced its fourth quarter and year-end financial results. They were poor. Fourth-quarter revenue was down 3.7 percent, to $157.9 million. Operating profits fell 7.5 percent, to $13.5 million. For the 52-week period ended February 1, revenues decreased 5.6 percent, to $470.3 million, with comparable store sales declining 6.8 percent. The company had an operating loss of $1.5 million for the year, compared with a $7 million profit the previous year, and a net loss of $8.7 million, compared with net income of $2.6 million the previous year.

Terrance Finley, the company’s CEO, had a strikingly more upbeat reaction to the numbers. “We were pleased with our performance in the fourth quarter,” he said. “We saw our core book business improve from the trends we experienced earlier in the year driven by a strong lineup of new titles. Our new business initiatives also performed well supported by consumer enthusiasm in pop culture, movies and media. Our team executed our plan admirably despite the challenges presented by the weather in both December and January.”

Netts remembered how, in his days in high school and college, Keuffel and Esser, the slide rule company, dominated that market. “In the twinkling of an eye, the business was gone with the advent of a hand-held calculator,” Netts said.

Big bookstores are the 21st century’s slide rules.

The signs at Palm Coast's Books A Million this morning. (c FlaglerLive)

The signs at Palm Coast’s Books A Million this morning. (c FlaglerLive)

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71 Responses for “The End: Palm Coast’s Books-A-Million, Flagler’s Only General-Interest Bookstore, Is Closing”

  1. Girl says:

    Sorry to see it go, a great place, to walk in, look around and a cup of hot coffee.

  2. Nancy N. says:

    I for one won’t miss Books a Million despite being a book lover and writer. That place was a downright scam. They used deceptive pricing signage on their tables and were constantly pushing their “club” and other “special offers” on their customers that were just marketing scams.

    When they first opened I went in to buy a holiday gift and at the register was told they were giving away free trial subscriptions to magazines to customers. I picked magazines and then as I was walking away looked at the fine print on my receipt and saw that the magazine would be automatically billed to the debit card I just used if I didn’t cancel it basically immediately. This had not been disclosed at the register by the employee. I immediately returned to the register and tried to get them to cancel out the transaction but they claimed to not be able to. Finally a manager said he had cancelled it out. But then the magazines started coming! It took multiple attempts to cancel them – including finally a threat of legal action – to get them to stop. The magazine fulfillment company they were working with simply refused to cancel the subscription before getting their money, despite my requests. It was a nightmare!

    On top of all of that, they carried very few current titles. The vast majority of their stock was close-out and clearance titles, being sold at grossly overpriced rates.

    It got to the point that I refused to step foot in there after having multiple really bad experiences. I flat-out refused to give my money to a company that did business the way they did.

    • Tessie says:

      As a former bookstore employee (over a decade ago), it’s people like this who make working retail miserable. It’s not a scam. Prices are printed by the publisher on the backs of books. Learn to read them.
      Getting a magazine for free isn’t a scam, it’s a marketing tool. Nothing is free. Stop acting like the world is out to get you.

      • Nancy N. says:

        Wow, I’m glad I never shopped in your store if that is how you treated customers. Books a Million’s entire business model was built on selling discounted books so the “cover” price was meaningless. That is why the table signage was so important.

        I know more than a bit about marketing tools. I do marketing consulting as part of my job. And what they were doing was across an ethical line that I would NEVER advise my clients to cross. Telling a customer they can try something for free and cancel it if they don’t like it – but then making it impossible to cancel it – is not marketing, it’s selling your customers up the river to put a few dollars in your own pocket. (Because BAM wasn’t giving customers free trials of their own products to promote them, it was selling their customers to other outside entities.) It’s especially unethical (and possibly illegal) when you don’t tell them that you are sharing their payment information and creating an automatic billing arrangement until after the transaction has been done.

      • BHughes says:

        Good One! And right on! I have worked in retail for many years (couldn’t work in a bookstore because I’d never take home a paycheck) and am truly disgusted by the public that thinks it is never wrong. WRONG! As you said, learn to read. Become a better shopper and respect the merchandise you are handling – it isn’t yours until you pay for it. Sorry to digress – just had to get that off my chest. Oooooh, poetry.
        Wish I had seen this posting back when the store was closing.
        Now we’ll see how the big cosmetic company fares (see response to Frank-below) – I work in that strip mall – I don’t see a whole lot of people who are going to patronize a major cosmetic store…… I guess we’ll see. I do miss BAM.

  3. Ralph Belcher says:

    Maybe they weren’t making much of a margin on their side business of hard selling magazine subscriptions and store discount cards when they swipe your credit/debit card after all? What a mess to get that off your account. After that (and nabbing my unsuspecting son with a subscription) I would only shop there with cash in hand. That way they didn’t have my banking/personal information.

    I have an affinity dor hard copies of books and will miss them a bit, less the above marketing ploy. The coffee shop wasn’t too bad, either.

  4. Yellowstone says:

    It would be generous of BAM to donate a portion of their inventory to local organizations; let’s say the public library, homeless shelter, ect.

  5. Jan Reeger says:

    OH NO !! How sad! I love that store!!

  6. w.ryan says:

    Got the email Wednesday about the closing sale and discount. We need this store! This is bad news!

  7. LRM says:

    I won’t miss that store. I applied for a job and got into their training program and quit after finding out that you have to meet a quota on club sales or your job is in jeopardy. Also, I was shocked to find out that employees could take any book home and read it as long as it stayed in good condition. A read book is not a new book.

  8. Frank Zedar says:

    Wow… Some of the folks above seem pretty worked up! I’m in here a couple of times a month and have never felt “scammed” or “pressured?” What’s that all about? It’s a great store… So, what’s next – a “Kindle” outlet? My vote is for a Trader Joe’s!!!

    • BHughes says:

      I agree, Frank – give us a Trader Joe’s! What a fantastic store! But, you know the ‘nay-sayers’ would be down on even Trader Joe’s after a while. Books-a-Million did have some marketing issues, but if you love a bookstore ( I do!), you go into a bookstore. BAM isn’t the only store around trying to get customers to add something to their checkout list. Buyer Beware! Just don’t succumb to the ‘pressure’ or ‘scam’ – Nothing is for nothing – that’s an OLD saying; so just be more buyer savvy
      Now, I have heard that the actual reason the store closed is that some other big-box store wanted the location and offered mega-rent for the space. BAM said “no thanks” and closed. Interesting that their Daytona Volusia Mall store is thriving – but not Palm Coast. What does that say about us? How will the new store – I also heard it is a huge cosmetic company – thrive? Are we more concerned about faces than books and educational material? I guess so. Let’s see how long the new store remains.
      Meanwhile – bring on Trader Joe’s! Oh dear, that company is too smart to open an outlet in this area – they know it won’t be supported. Sad, but true.

  9. Florida Native. says:

    The internet and Amazon is going to put everyone out of business. Books-A-Million isn’t the first and won’t be the last. (See JC Penney,Sears, and K-Mart.) I thought it wasn’t the smartest idea in the world to build a Target and Walmart in PC. I think their days are numbered. Kmart also closed to anyone who’s been here for less than 5 years. Perkins also. Lowe’s and Home Depot thrived during the housing boom but that’s all but dried up. People are shopping in Daytona and St. Augustine because of the lousy anti-business climate and rip off red light cameras.

    • Genie says:

      @ Florida Native: I recently read that Staples and Radio Shack are also pulling out of Palm Coast. Who else is planning on pulling out?

      If we all want this to continue, along with more red light cameras, then vote the council and county commission back in. If you want to live like normal towns, with business coming in instead of leaving,
      and JOBS, vote them all out, please.

      It’s the only way we’re going to survive. The fact that Chuimento is tearing down Palm Harbor Shopping Center without any signed leases from new stores is the death knell for this town.

      This is NOT the business climate that will attract anybody.

      • ryan says:

        THe Palm Harbor Shopping Center with the Publix? Oh crap! I did not even hear about it. This is out of control. There is something wrong when no one notices the mostly empty shopping centers and angry people who have caused a delay in commercialization.

  10. Tim says:

    According to Helga van Echert, Flagler County Economic Redevelopment Director, “the county’s 9.3% unemployment rate is in part a result of an increasing number of jobs enticing more people into the county.”
    Does the same hold true for business folding in Flagler County?

  11. Tim Baker says:

    As a local (Palm Coast) author and book lover I have no sympathy for BAM. I, along with several other local authors, tried for years to convince BAM (as well as Borders and B&N) to support local writers. Their standard corporate policy refused to sell books that weren’t put out by the big 6 (now the big 5) publishing houses.
    They refused to acknowledge the writing on the wall, as it were, and accept the fact that the old way was circling the drain and there is a new revolution in the book world.
    Even with the popularity of e-readers, there are plenty of people who still enjoy a “real” book, and the number of independent authors putting out quality books is growing every day.
    The small stores, like Change Jar Books in Flagler Beach will reap the benefits of BAM’s loss.

  12. Steve Wolfe says:

    With a big box store closing and a tire store disappearing in the middle of the night with their hair on fire from Palm Coast, one might ask (again), what is it with Palm Coast and business? Drive 15 minutes south to Nova Road and you are surrounded by as much business in one block as all of Palm Coast. There must be some systemic problem here. With a high number of retiree homeowners in Palm Coast, and the lower per capita income of working families in Flagler, why can’t we get more businesses open in Flagler and Palm Coast to expand the tax base and reduce the burden to homeowners? And as seen here, why can’t we even KEEP the ones we have? What is so hard to understand about ordinary economic equations, like more business=more jobs=more taxable income and more purchasing? It also leads to fewer workers migrating to other counties for jobs. It can also translate to more young people entering the work force and possibly less drug use and criminal activity.

    The status quo isn’t working. Some forces are at work to keep Flagler’s business profile small. I think some real pro-active steps need to be taken to join the rest of the state of Florida and reduce the unemployment rate in Flagler County and increase the presence and retention of business here. Perhaps the current elected officials are part of the problem. I don’t hear any of them explaining the problems, but I have seen several of them shrug their shoulders with their palms turned up when I ask them about this matter. Sorry, that’s just not an answer. It’s a surrender.

    • BHughes says:

      Then let’s vote them out and get some officials into office who will do the job and care about this county, not just pay lip service to it. Election Day is November 4 – GO OUT AND VOTE!! Local voting is just as important as national voting. And, get more involved in the local process – find out what is preventing new business and what is causing (beside customer apathy) established business to leave.
      Maybe a study about the cost of shopping elsewhere; i.e. gas (although prices are down a little this week), time, wear & tear on vehicle, etc. could be done and published to convincce people to shop locally. I don’t think having your recycle bin scanned so you can build points to spend at businesses in Palm Coast is the answer. Ask a bunch of home owners who have been told by the garbage collectors – “we don’t have time for that scanning thing”. We need something else. This is sort of like Daytona Beach spending all that renovation money on Beach Street just to have locals say that the area was too dangerous to go to at night. Lots of wonderful little restaurants/micro-breweries went under because the majority of people would prefer to go to some national chain restaurant – can you say “Olive Garden”? There are probably more empty store fronts on Beach Street than viable businesses. And, Dayton has a much broader population mix than Palm Coast, which is mostly retired with a lot of rural worker types thrown in. Nothing wrong with that – they just need to have businesses that they will support.

  13. confidential says:

    The sad reality is that we need more jobs…and with the GOP budget cuts demanded that leave more federal and state employees on the unemployment lines the middle and lower class can’t afford books!
    Hope not, but I see one more ghost mall in times to come and for worst they approved building one more in Palm Harbor. These developers keep getting loans for commercial development and then do not pay them, go belly up and there come the banks stimulus forced in our ever rising taxpayers sacrifice.
    Meanwhile, city councilmen and county commissioners keep wasting those our very funds in derelict real estate purchases and lavish city halls building. On top of it all they keep wasting also our hard earned taxes in legal fees to defend failures and sustain fights among themselves to prove who has the bigger ego in our sweated dime.

    • ryan says:

      I hate to say it, confidential, but both Left and Right are equally responsible. Both parties waste too much money where they shouldn’t and deep cuts to things that desperately need funding.

  14. Barbara says:

    Flagler Beach has a great little library and a fabulous used book store that has very current titles.

  15. Only the Beginning says:

    Is this the first of many to close in the Town Center Shopping Center……No surprise here. Doesn’t there need to be a middle class base with MONEY to buy things ? Well, Palm Coast is NOT middle class anymore. Low class, poor, retired living on Social Security, no jobs, criminals and money spending politicians.

    Its a shame !!!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Maybe Palm Coast has given up reading for watching the boob toob and their phone screens.

  17. Well... says:

    In the entire time it was here in Palm Coast, I went in once and saw the prices on books I read years ago and walked out. It looked more like a consignment shop then a bookstore, in my opinion. I order all of my books through Amazon and get them in 2 days for a physical copy if it is one that I want when the zombie apocalypse happens and I have five minutes to pause and read (even the governor found time to read). I buy the digital edition if I’m unsure or just looking for something to pass the time and have it – BAM – in seconds. Either way, I forgot the store was even there…sad but true.

  18. Here We Go Again says:

    There’s your new City Hall, ripe for the pick ‘in.

  19. Genie says:

    Devastated to see this store go, as well as the loss of jobs. We have the country’s most expensive city manager and nothing to show for it except miscues and missteps and city halls we don’t want or need.

    “In the twinkling of an eye, the business was gone with the advent of a hand-held calculator,” Netts said.

    Mayor Netts, Council, Chamber, I don’t think any in Palm Coast are satisfied of your efforts to either bring in or keep business in Palm Coast.

    Looks like a good time for an election to me.

    • rhweir says:

      “Looks like a good time for an election to me.” The sleepwalkers at the top have to go when they’re up for election. Business as usual won’t get it anymore here.

      • Genie says:

        Business here seems to revolve around what major landowners want to dump on the local populace for their own profit. Yet we end up with nothing.

        How does that happen unless money is changing hands?

        All around Palm Coast, business is booming, yet not here. Something very wrong with that.

    • BHughes says:

      GET OUT AND VOTE!

  20. Ron says:

    I think the final sentence in this article sums up the whole situation perfectly:

    “Big bookstores are the 21st century’s slide rules.”

    It’s a business model that is destined to perish.

  21. rhweir says:

    Maybe big bookstores are the slide rules of the 21st century but this is just another troubling closure for Palm Coast. We just had a major tire retailer pull up stakes, literally, just down the road and beat it out of here. They must have checked our demographics which, quite frankly, stink. Having lived in a major metro area in a university community for most of my life, I’m used to retailers like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, bookstores, a variety of restaurants and a large number of affordable public golf courses. We have excellent weather here and little else. Palm Coast, last retailer out, turn out the lights. Is Books-A-Million a slide rule, no. It’s a barometer indicating where Palm Coast is going unless changes are made and made quick. I’m tired of being mired in the Great Recession here. The recession if over folks, everywhere but here.

    • James says:

      The recession isn’t over here because nobody wants to be under the watch of the City of Palm Coast. First the retailers will leave, and little by little, the residents.
      It’s not a resident/business friendly place to be. Sad. It could have been terrific, especially with the unique Flagler Beach ambience just minutes away.

      • ryan says:

        You’re right, James. The town does have a very unfriendly atmosphere towards businesses and new residents. It seems like people live next to each other for years and don’t even know their first name. very strange. It also seems like whenever a proposed business wants to open here, there is complaining from angry residents about commercializing the city. I don’t know why. There is a very antisocial vibe here, jst wish I knew why.

  22. Kendall says:

    I shopped there often when it first opened but got tired of them nagging me to take advantage of their magazine scam and finally stopped shopping there.

  23. orphan says:

    About two years ago I had to get serious about my general health and ended up at BAM. I found a book that caught my attention. It is about getting the salt out of our diets.
    My doctor, two years later, entered the room and said to me: “I don’t know what you are doing but please keep it up”.
    We are already missing BAM! :(

  24. Flagler Guy says:

    So sad to see this go. Was one of my favorite spots in the entire city.

    Very depressing.

  25. shadow says:

    I went into the store today and talked to some of the employees. According to them the store is not closing for budget reasons. The company could not come to an agreement on the lease renewal and they were not given enough time to find another location. This happens to many business in Palm Coast, because the owners of these buildings seem to think they are in a high class money community. But as people know Flagler county is not. Most here are hard working low middle to unemployed. Even those of us employed are pay check to pay check.

    • Genie says:

      @ Shadow: The same thing has happened at Palm Harbor Shopping Center. Rents there are among the highest in the city and the owner has been steadily raising them. I don’t understand how tearing it down and building it BIGGER is going to stop any of this.

      GREED is killing Palm Coast, at all levels.

  26. boomer says:

    Very sad as I have purchased many books here, however the new generation of drones cannot read as our country crumbles under our own weight…..good luck to all

  27. Initialjoe says:

    I’m an avid reader but I haven’t actually visited this BAM before.

    I like to go to that Book Rack that has the used books…better prices. I also use the local libraries. No need for a high priced bookstore here or anywhere in my opinion. It’s all about have have have consumerism. Oh, It was an okay coffee shop too.

  28. tulip says:

    BAM has closed many other stores in other states and cities, according to the article. Don’t blame PC for every business failure.

    Modern technology is killing the brick and mortar stores. People are reading e-books on their kindles, .,ordering merchandise on line, etc. Pretty soon, the printing of books and such will be almost obsolete, costing many jobs, and the same thing with more and more people buying products online. The making of paper will decline greatly, more jobs gone. Technology is quickly replacing people and the world is becoming more and more impersonal.

    Perhaps we should look to ourselves as part of the problem? If we don’t physically support our stores and businesses by actually going there, then the businesses will see the advantage of closing stores and just relying on all the online buying. Cheaper for them as they would have less employees and far less employee expenses.

    • Nancy N. says:

      Costing jobs? Do you think that e-readers, kindles, and the content that people buy on them appear out of thin air? There will be plenty of jobs creating things for people to read but they will be DIFFERENT jobs. They will be computer hardware engineers, software engineers, graphic designers, web designers, photographers, ad sales people – and don’t forget the writers! I work full-time in the online media market as a writer, editor, and website owner. This is a thriving and growing industry. Publishing isn’t dying. It’s just changing.

  29. Paul digeirgio says:

    I find it funny that the mayor reads,I guess it’s like selective hearing.how come he doesn’t read all the letters and post on the negative impact of the red red light cameras,you will be voted out of office.i wrote you a comment on your city post and you didn’t even respond I thought you worked for the people of this city!!!!

  30. Bill says:

    They should have made their prices more competive with Amazon. This is what happens when you try to get rich quick. Sell more to make more….like Amazon. I hate to see them go, but they are over priced, and i can’t see paying their prices.

    • Ginny says:

      The prices were high however if you got their card the price became more affordable. Palm Coast needed that book store and it is a shame that it went out of business sad for the town and very sad for the well needed jobs that the store provided.

  31. Sh3ll_Sh0ck says:

    It’s just business guys.. The fact is, yes, ok the store was down in sales.. but it wasn’t going to close. Notice how the store put up the banner and it says “this location only” .. it all comes down to money.. the lease was up and another company placed more money on the table, when BAM was asked to meet the new figures, they decided against it.. that is all..it all comes down to corporate negotiations. That is why it was such a surprise to all.. yes it’s sad, and some will lose their jobs, hopefully they will be transferred.. but I’m excited for the change, and maybe we will gain more business here in this shopping strip.. new store means new business, new products, new possibilities.

    • Tim Baker says:

      It’s more than just “business”…it’s an industry-wide situation. The simple fact is that the Big-Box Book stores have refused to move with the revolution in the publishing industry. E-readers and independent publishers, combined with Amazon, Smashwords, Createspace, Kobo, etc are crippling their sales.
      None of the big chains wanted to recognize the fact that the change was coming.
      The store in Plam Coast is only one BAM store that is closing…they have closed several others around the country.
      Borders is already gone and Barnes and Noble will be next.

  32. Lynn says:

    Book lover here, but the business model of that store and franchise was awful. The magazine and club upselll at the register was excruciating. In this case I don’t think palm coast is exclusively to blame. Although I shopped there pretty regularly, I did so because I love bookstores and hate to see them fail. Every visit was pleasant all the way up until checkout (well, if you ignore the sloppy merchandizing) and then ….I felt sorry for the employees..

    • Susan says:

      I know personally that those “excruciating” checkout speeches, were how those employees made there money and hours each week. If you had gotten the card or tried the magazines it would have boosted sales and they would still be open. As for the sloppy merch those employees worked hard to care for that store only so much can be done when there’s only 4 people there to run everything including cafe they did the best could and its a very sad loss.

  33. Jeff Kuske says:

    Bookstores are closing across the country. This has little to do with Palm Coast. Yes, Palm Coast suffered during the economic downturn, and yes Palm Coast will come back as more people suffering from a long brutal winter bring their retirement incomes South.

  34. wsh302@msn.com says:

    The truth is there are no descent paying jobs here, tell me where you can get a 15-20$ an hour job here which you need to run a house here and that being one of two jobs u need. all we are getting is another McDonalds. Take a look at the Pavilion in Port Orange right off 95, it is beautiful, Palm Coast is at least a decade away from that type of boom.

    • The Truth says:

      No one is arguing about the fact that there aren’t enough good paying jobs in Palm Coast. The problem is that people want things both ways. They want good paying jobs, but they complain about the higher prices. They want more companies to move to the area, but they complain about the increase in traffic. You can’t have it both ways. The Pavilion in Port Orange and St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville are both beautiful, but these communities have been well established for quite some time. Palm Coast has only been a city for 15 years. It has come a long way but has a long way to go.

  35. Nancy N. says:

    To think that the sky is falling in Palm Coast because a book store is closing is pretty Chicken Little. Technology is killing paper publishing of all kinds. Magazines are shutting down right and left as information moves to the internet. Bookstores are closing as people move to digital books (and the few paper readers left are buying everything on Amazon). Borders closed, Barnes & Noble is struggling…it’s not a surprise that BAM is shutting down stores. The business model of the big bookstore selling paper reading material is becoming a dinosaur just like the VHS video store got replaced by Netflix.

  36. Genie says:

    I just happened to catch a discussion on the radio this morning at WNZF. They blame this on the fact that we don’t need book stores anymore. While I can’t disagree with some of that, I still think it’s a lame excuse coming from one of the most active members of our Chamber of Commerce. Odd they aren’t more proactive on this.

    We need a chamber and a government here that will stop some of the money raising schemes, like the red light cameras. Did you know we have the largest number in the state??? If true, that’s just plain ridiculous.

    Why do we have the most expensive City and County Managers in the country? There is just NO EXCUSE for that.

  37. confidential says:

    The kindles also have pushed out too the book stores…Why to waste time and gas going to buy a book while you can pay to read it in you kindle I-pads?

  38. Florida Native. says:

    @ Genie. Well said. I didn’t know about Staples but I don’t doubt it. Radio Shack has been sinking for years.

    • Steve Wolfe says:

      It is well past time to blame the economy or any lingering affects of the housing bust. Pro-active politicians should have reversed course long ago if they are truly pro-growth. Just look at Ormond Beach, Daytona, St. Augustine. We are surrounded by business. Flagler lags far behind the economic and labor recovery of the rest of Florida. That means we are surrounded by City Councils and County Chambers that got it done, and keep getting it done. There is something at work in Flagler and PC that is quietly suppressing business for some private interests, and I think it is time to push back against that. It doesn’t matter whether it is identified or not. All that matters is choosing leaders who will do what is in the best interests of the county and city. And yes, we can still have our bedroom communities while expanding the business footprint. In fact, it is vital to the survival of our communities. When we aren’t growing, we are in decline. There is no equilibrium. It takes better planning. Maybe we should just drive a few miles and ask some questions.

      • Tim Baker says:

        I’m not going to argue politics with you, but I can tell you, without question, that this particular situation had NOTHING to do with local governement and EVERYTHING to do with the ever changing book industry.
        Trust me – it’s the world I live in and it is changing faster than anybody can keep up with.
        Look at Borders – gone.
        Barnes and Noble – slaes down 60% and many stores closing.
        Amazon and Independent Publishers/Authors are crippling the big box book stores because they refuse to change with the times.
        See my comment above for more info..

        • Steve Wolfe says:

          Tim, while I agree that the issue of this article is BAM closing and that wider market forces are the reason, lots of us readers are also bashing local government because the net loss of business fits the pattern in PC. This is an overall negative business atmosphere. I don’t see any change possible with the current political atmosphere. One is a vacuum while the other is a gas bag.

      • Genie says:

        @ Steve Wolfe: Ask your questions of the business owners here and you will get confirmation. They get no support, the rents are excessively high and all the Chamber does is publish a directory for very high annual dues. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I agree with your statement.

        • Steve Wolfe says:

          The answer starts with hiring some new help on the city council this November. Someone willing to stand up to the money that directs business as usual. Hope to meet you someday.

  39. The Truth says:

    Books-a-Million was doomed from the start. Even when it was built 6 years ago, most people realized it wasn’t long for this area. Book stores are becoming much more rare, although smaller book stores like the Book Rack are thriving. It’s impossible to support a large book store like this when the prices are outrageous compared to what you would pay online. Many people will blame online retailers for the demise of these stores, but the fact is that many of these stores overcharge for their products and price themselves out on their own. I would be shocked if all Books-a-Million stores don’t close in the next 5 years.

  40. ryan says:

    Sad to see bookstores closing everywhere. No we are stuck with crappy e-books that can be erased or changed to satisfy the offended, and as magazines and newspapers go completely online, they can erase a controversial article, then say “we did not write that.” I am all for change, but nothing like a good book. It is important to have a good solid copy of everything.

    • Tim Baker says:

      The best way to fight it is to support small book stores (who aren’t as narrow minded as the big box stores) like Change Jar Books in Flagler Beach. As a local author I can tell you that the big stores only cared about the bottom line…the mom and pop stores care about the people and the books…don’t let them die.

  41. Devrie says:

    I don’t think Indie and used bookstores are in as much trouble as big-box new book stores. Amazon is not kicking out the small-time bookstore, but Palm Coast isn’t foot-traffic friendly enough for a lot of those types of stop-in-and-browse book shops.

    I don’t think Books-a-million’s closing has much to do with Palm Coast nor the economy, save for the fact that we don’t have as much of a disposable income to blow on new books.

    People either search for specific books, or they like to browse. Browser like to be surprised by what they find, but they like the lower costs books. It’s very difficult to just browse Amazon.com for any random book in any random category.

    Books-a-Million isn’t the only big box book store that’s closing doors across the country, yet some small indie book sellers are on the rise in some parts of the nation.

    That’s my thought on it.

  42. Brad says:

    This actually isn’t much of a surprise to me. Up until a few years ago, I managed in 2 local B&N stores over 7 years. Both chains have truly lost their way. They have stopped being about books. Digital is forcing the stores to evolve and are a huge positive to the industry. Especially because the traditional publishing model puts up huge barriers for both authors and readers.

    What Books-a-Million did wrong was to hand over their customers to Barnes and Noble by agreeing to sell Nooks in their stores. BAM had an ereader app and instead of working with manufactures to get their app included on devices and selling an array of tablets, they agreed to hand their existing and future customer base over to their competitor.

    To say that the stores drop prices to meet Amazon’s is not realistic. These stores locally generate on average about $5 million to $6 million in sales. Shipping costs alone are extremely high because of weight. And then you have all of your normal business costs. The difference in sales from selling a bestseller at $14 to $10 does not change the consumer’s mind. The real difference is that the stores stopped being community hubs. As Pierre states in another article, they have lost their “soul”.

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