Bye Bye B. Dalton Bookseller

More sad news for the book world.

B. Dalton Bookseller is turn to the end of its story. After nearly 44 years, it was down to just 50 stores at the end of the year. Its parent company, Barnes & Noble Inc., is shutting down all remaining stores.

Founded by the Dayton department stores in 1966, it underwent phenomenal growth in the 1970s and 1980s, eventually expanding to nearly 800 locations in 1986, when Barnes & Noble bought it.

In the early years, B. Dalton was known for its parquet floors, den-like furnishings and wide aisles -- a look the company said gave it the "open look of a contemporary college study hall or salon of learning."

By 1978, B. Dalton was the second-largest bookseller in the United States, behind Waldenbooks, but posted higher profits. In late 1986, Dayton Hudson (now Target Corp.) announced it was selling the chain to New York-based Barnes & Noble in a deal analysts valued around $250 million. That deal catapulted B&N and expanded its market across the country and turning it into the No. 2 bookseller.

So much corporate intrigue. Maybe that's what killed them.

Waldenbooks (Kmart bought that for $295 million in 1984) is now operated by Borders Group Inc.  Borders Group will close all but about 130 mall-based Waldenbooks this month.

The B. Dalton stores have been disappearing from shopping malls by closing 35 to 40 stores a year for the past eight years as leases expired.

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