Apparently offering a 20% discount to Pokémon Go players who catch a critter in their store wasn’t enough to save Hastings. Publishers Weekly, Shelf Awareness, and the Spokane Spokesman-Review are reporting that book and media store Hastings is going the way of Borders and Blockbuster. After filing for bankruptcy in June, Hastings has been unable to find a buyer who would be willing to keep it in business, so it’s time to liquidate. Hastings is expected to close all 126 of its stores by the end of October.
Hastings has been bought by a liquidator, bringing an end to a company that at one point was responsible for $100 million in book sales. The sale of its inventory is expected to earn $3 to $6 million, enough to pay off the debts Hastings owes to various publishers and distributors.
The piece in the Spokesman-Review focuses on the online media outlets that helped to drive Hastings out of business, and will take up more of the slack with the store going under. One customer said that the closure of Hastings would push him on-line. “You can be sad about it, or you can say that’s progress,” the customer said, because online media is “the better business model now.”
Hastings wasn’t strictly a bookstore—it was more like a cross between a bookstore and a video store, which makes it kind of fitting that it’s following both Borders and Blockbuster into bankruptcy. It’s probably the video side of the business that’s more responsible for the closure, given that Barnes & Noble’s bookstore side is still doing fairly well and it was mismanagement more than market weakness that drove Borders out of business. And given that people seem to do a lot more video watching than book reading these days, there’s probably more money in that side of the business—which meant that customers’ migration online would have hurt Hastings all the more.
That said, I doubt that the publishers are going to be all that happy to see another partly-bookstore chain go out of business. Every such business that closes removes one more alternative to Amazon, after all.