Once the third-largest bookstore chain in the U.S., Crown Books filed for liquidation in March 2001 and closed its last stores that summer. Founded by Herbert Haft in 1977 and operated by Haft’s son, Bobby Haft, Crown owned 240 stores at its height. After a falling out in 1993, Herbert fired Bobby, and battered by competition from superstore rivals and an expanding Amazon, Crown filed for bankruptcy in 1998. Though it emerged from Chapter 11 in 1999, it was never able to regain a meaningful place in the bookselling landscape.
The top story in that March issue was one of the first shots fired in the battle for control of e-book rights: Random House sued startup RossettaBooks for copyright infringement for its publication of digital editions of several RH print books.
From the Archive: March 5, 2001 by Publishers Weekly on Scribd