Books-A-Million yesterday announced an aggressive growth plan that will see the chain open as many as 15 to 20 new stores next year and enter two new states, Nebraska and Pennsylvania. The company is on course to open eight new stores this year, about its annual average, before it doubles its opening schedule next year. The chain currently has 200 stores in 20 states, with the majority of its outlets in the Southeast. Along with opening eight stores this year, BAM will relocate three to four stores and close four to six. In 2009 it plans to shut two to four stores and move five to 10. Company CEO Sandy Cochran said the company is “excited about the growth opportunities we see in the marketplace.”

For the first half of 2007, BAM’s sales increased 6%, to $177 million, but costs controls and other operating efficiencies led to a 31% jump in profits, to $5.2 million.