Clickbait: B&N Plans to Close 197 Bookstores by 2022
A certain ebook blog has used bad math, a magic 8-ball, and their own wild guesses to reach the wild conclusion that Barnes & Noble would be closing 197 stores over the next six years (screenshot):
Barnes and Noble currently has 647 stores and plans to only have 450 by 2022. This means they will have to close down 197 stores between now and then. In order to meet this target, they will have to shutter 19.7 locations every year. If they only close 10 this year, it means that next year they will have to close 21, or more. Basically, they will have to close far more locations than they will open.
Over the last few years there haven’t been a number of new bookstores that have opened. This is primary because developers have been opening fewer malls.
Leaving aside the obvious failure in math (6 x 20 = 120, not 197), this claim is ridiculous on the face of it. It’s based on nothing more than a vague goal stated by a now ex-B&N manager in an interview three years ago. Someone then misinterpreted that vague goal as B&N’s stated business plan, and then used it for a very rough and inaccurate back of the envelope calculation.
Barnes & Noble has already denied this unsubstantiated claim, for obvious reasons, although they really should not have had to bother.
Any member of the press who followed up on this story should have looked at the math and the arguments, realized that this was nothing more than errant clickbait, and dropped it. Sadly, some sites, including CBS, fell for the story.
That is unfortunate, because this claim is about as plausible as the rumor last year that Walmart would buy the Nook platform.