Eerdmans Bookstore, which is owned and operated by the 106-year-old Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Company in Grand Rapids, Mich., will shutter its doors before the end of the year.
“The location of our bookstore in an area of office buildings, rather than retail shops, has been a challenging factor for sales,” Anita Eerdmans, president of Eerdmans, told PW. “We will continue to sell direct to consumers through our website, but we expect that the vast majority of our sales will continue to happen by way of our established outside retail partners.”
Further, a rep for Eerdmans cited an effort to refocus on the core publishing business rather than the bookstore, which makes up only a small part of the overall operations at Eerdmans.
“While we are sad to say goodbye to our store, we remain committed to publishing books with the high literary and intellectual standards that have always characterized Eerdmans,” said Eerdmans v-p of sales and marketing Tracy Danz in a statement.
Sue Smith, store director at nearby independent bookstore Baker Book House, said Eerdmans Bookstore will be missed in the community, especially by academic readers, but that “bookstore retail has such a difficult landscape to navigate.”
“Given that their customer base was so niche, along with strong local competition in [Grand Rapids], I am not terribly surprised to see them close,” she said, noting that she expects Baker Book House to absorb some of the closed store's sales.
The decision to close Eerdmans Bookstore comes almost a year after the closure of Family Christian Stores, which included 240 locations, and following a 6% decline in Christian retail since last year, according to the CBA’s State of the Industry report.
The store will remain open through December 2017, offering discounts on its remaining inventory beginning on November 13. It carries new books and used, including children’s, from Eerdmans and other religion publishers.