In a letter sent to publishers on Friday, nationwide retailer The Home Depot announced it will no longer be selling books. The letter, signed by associate merchant Sarah Moffat, states that, after considering “over a year of intense analytical information both internally and with our book suppliers,” as well as “customer insight surveys,” the home improvement superstore is going to discontinue the “book subclass” in order to “better optimize the space in the front end of the store.”

The letter also says that the decision “was not an easy one to make,” and indicates that the move is part of a wider strategy of “front end transformation.”

The news from Home Depot comes at a time of mounting fear among publishers that, as bricks-and-mortar sales slow, big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target might abandon bookselling.