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Barnes and Nobles

by James Li 24, May 2024

Amidst the bustling streets of Almaden Plaza, an iconic beacon of literary sanctuary faces an uncertain fate. After a quarter-century of enriching the community with its vast shelves and cozy café, the local Barnes & Noble store location stands on the brink of closure come the new year. However, a fervent rallying cry has emerged from its devoted staff and loyal patrons as they petition for the store’s relocation, determined to preserve the haven it has become for generations of book lovers.

Art by Peter Yoon

Barnes & Noble originated in 1886, eventually consolidating to become a powerhouse in the brick and mortar bookstore business. Barnes & Noble has historically been an enemy of the small independent bookstore, but in an ironic twist of fate, the company met its match in online vendors such as Amazon. Coupled with the pandemic, Barnes & Noble suffered heavily, leading to waves of closures across the country. Dozens of locations have shut their doors for good, citing reasons such as expensive leases preventing the store from operating in an economically feasible manner and businesses buying out the space to open other stores. 

“Barnes & Noble provides a comfortable and inviting environment for students such as myself to study. With the store closing down, students will have to look elsewhere to find a productive environment.” Senior Kelsey Elo said. 

Amongst these stores that are closing across the brand is the Almaden Plaza Branch. Its lease expires next year with no plans to renew or reopen at a new location. This news comes off the heels of the workers unionizing. While many hoped that this would lead to better working conditions and livable wages, the decision also put the location on the corporate chopping block as a target for closure. The closure will impact not only the employees’ lives, but also would harm booklovers’ shopping experience in Almaden.

Art by Peter Yoon

In an attempt to combat this closure, employees of the Barnes & Noble are urging the community to support their efforts to save the store, putting together an online petition to find a new location. This tactic has been used in the past, most prominently in 2013, when the Merced branch of a Barnes & Noble was able to stave off closure through community support. These combined efforts led to a reduced lease that enabled the store to stay open.

“Community support is especially important in instances like this because it displays to the companies that the store is valuable to the community it serves,” Junior Shrivas Sudharsan said.

The Almaden branch hopes to replicate these successes, with aims to either relocate or establish new terms for the lease. Regardless, the community stands to suffer a large loss if the store is to close down indefinitely.


About the Contributors

James Li

Staff Writer

James Li is a senior at Leland High School and is a Staff Writer for the Charger Account. When not working, he enjoys bowling, running, and playing video games.

Peter Yoon


Peter Yoon is a sophomore at Leland High School and is an artist for The Charger Account. During his free time, he likes to listen to music, draw, and sleep.

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