In an abrupt decision, surprising 300 full- and part-time employees, Book World recently announced its liquidation. Founded in 1976, the 45-store chain operates in malls, downtowns, and vacation areas across the Upper Midwest. Owner Bill Streur said he searched for someone to buy the chain, but “there was nobody interested in buying us” – most likely because the chain swung from a profit in 2014 to break-even in 2015 to a loss in 2016.

According to the Census Bureau, bookstore sales were $684 million in October, down 4.6 percent from last year and 39 percent from 10 years ago.