- The decline in the number of bookstores began in the 1980s, when Barnes & Noble's and Borders's superstores decimated independent booksellers.
- U.S. book sales started declining years before the 2007 introduction of Amazon's Kindle and the 2008 Great Recession. People are simply spending less time reading books.
- eBooks from Amazon and other retailers have cannibalized sales of print books. In other words, eBook sales haven't increased total U.S. book sales revenues--they've only slowed the rate of decline.
So, you've got three factors responsible for the decline in the number of bookstores:
- Price competition, which was used by Barnes & Noble and Borders to kill off a large part of the U.S. bookstore industry even before Amazon was founded in 1995 (but which Amazon has certainly used to its advantage.)
- Declining book sales, which pressures all booksellers but puts the most pressure on retailers that don't have other product lines to fall back on for revenue.
- eBooks, which generally aren't sold in brick & mortar bookstores (although they could be.)