Note the 'D&D' display on the second rack back
Book World, the third largest general interest book chain in the U.S., is closing all its stores after liquidation sales, the company told vendors as reported by Publishers Weekly.  The chain attributed the closing to a decline in sales that has escalated over the past 12 months and continues, according to the report.  That’s not dissimilar from what the largest U.S. book chain, Barnes & Noble, has been experiencing (see “Barnes & Noble Has Surprisingly Big Sales Decline”).

The chain, based in Appleton, Wisconsin, operates 45 stores in smaller markets in seven Midwest states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota.  It has a long history of selling geek merchandise that goes back to the 80s, and currently offers select hobby games and graphic novels in many communities where they’re not otherwise available, or available only in very limited ways.

We’re not sure what’s sadder, that the bookstore chain is closing, or that a 45-store small-town chain was the third-largest general interest book chain in the U.S.  Barnes & Noble, with 689 stores, is #1, and Books-a-Million, with 260 stores, is #2. Hudson News operates over 700 newsstands in transit terminals, and Lifeway Christian Stores has over 170 stores in the U.S.