Barnes & Noble has eliminated one fourth of its community relations managers—about 100 jobs—with most of the cuts coming in stores with lower sales volume. Store managers will now pick up the duties of the CRMs, which include organizing in-store events and working with libraries, schools and community groups.

"It's not that the program itself is going away," said spokesperson Carolyn Brown. "The store manager will continue to work with the community. It will be a seamless transition over to the store manager." Some of the CRMs will be offered other positions with the company, Brown said. The company is committed to having CRMs and doesn't plan to eliminate any of the remaining 300 positions, Brown said.

Borders Group did away with its CRMs in 2001, replacing them with area marketing managers who handle events for stores regionwide. Borders employs about 65 AMMs, each handling on average six to seven stores, said spokesperson Anne Roman. Borders also has 10 field national events specialists, who concentrate their efforts in the largest markets.

Meanwhile, B&N reported that comparable-store sales at its superstores rose 2.7% in August. The August increase follows a 5.6% increase for the second quarter, led by a 10.5% increase in June. Same-store sales at Dalton fell 3.2% in August. Topping the bestseller list at B&N were Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, It's Not About the Bike, The Teeth of the Tiger and Street Dreams. Low-carb diet and health books also sold well in the month, led by The South Beach Diet.