Barnes & Noble has pulled the plug on Book magazine after three and a half years of funding the publication. The last issue, its 31st, featuring Toni Morrison on its cover, is in stores now.

The magazine was started in 1998 by editor-in-chief Jerome Kramer and publisher Mark Gleason. The editorial and art departments were originally in Chicago but relocated to New York City in October 2000 after B&N agreed to fund much of the venture. B&N backed Book to the tune of more than $6 million, but last fall, the company wrote off its investment in the publication.

Circulation was given a boost when B&N began distributing the magazine free to all members of B&N's Reader's Advantage customer loyalty club. After the policy ended, Book's circulation fell significantly, with the most recent audit numbers putting the magazine's circulation at 190,000.

Earlier this year, B&N made its ownership stake more fully known by re-titling the magazine Barnes & Noble Presents Book Magazine. While editorial content remained untouched, the retailer had a significant presence in the magazine in the form of ad pages, taking up numerous multipage spreads in recent issues.

Kramer told PW, "It's been a great run, but B&N made a fiscally responsible decision about whether or not to continue in the magazine publishing business. At the end of the day, they decided they're not magazine publishers."