Barnes & Noble

Possible salvation for Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble Storefront
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Barnes & Noble got a lifeline on Friday with the news that it will be bought out and taken private. No longer will the long-struggling book chain be subject to the brutality of the quarterly analyst meeting.

Why it matters: But what is not known is whether long-form readers will fare as well after Elliott Management's $476 million buyout of B&N. One outlook is that Elliott, which already owns the U.K.'s Waterstones chain of bookstores, will use its management expertise to sort out what ails B&N.The other is a continued, slow shriveling up of the neighborhood U.S. bookstore that has been under way for two decades.

How Barnes & Noble, the last big bookstore, fell to Amazon

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

One by one, storied chains in books, toys, sporting goods and more have disappeared from American malls and main streets, then vanished from our collective memory. Now, Barnes & Noble, the last chain bookstore standing, is finally buckling, too.

The big picture: The arc of retail has been bending toward consolidation for decades. Superstores like B&N and Toys "R" Us took us from shopping small to shopping big. Next, we seem to be moving inexorably toward one, powerful, all-knowing, everything store.