Barnes & Noble: why it could soon be the bookshop’s final chapter

America’s biggest bookstore chain has seen its sales slide for 11 years. With its stock price falling 8%, is the writing on the wall?

To the casual observer Barnes & Noble in Manhattan’s Union Square seemed to be doing everything right last Thursday lunchtime: displays heaving with books; customers milling around; every table at the Starbucks on the third floor taken by customers; a creche full of excited children; magazine racks browsed.

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