Barnes and Noble Closing in Union Station

50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE

Thanks to Rebecca for sending word that Barnes and Noble is closing in Union Station. A call to the store confirms that their last day is Dec. 31st. Barnes and Noble still has a store near Metro Center at 12th and E St, NW.

The former Barnes and Noble in Georgetown recently opened as a Nike Store. And earlier this week we learned the former Borders at 18th and L St, NW is becoming a Nordstrom Rack.

It’ll be interesting to see who takes over this large retail space in Union Station.

33 Comment

  • Interesting how this chain mega-bookstore trend grew so quickly in the mid-late ’90s and seems to be failing just as quickly. I wouldn’t have predicted 10 years ago that it would start to look like such a fad.

    • These bookstores actually knew that they were on borrowed time back then once Amazon started gaining steam.

      • Wal-Mart didn’t help either, esp. in smaller markets. Virtually all the big boxes (books or otherwise) that establisihed themselves in the 80s and 90s are in trouble, either because of Wal-Mart or the web.

      • People all seem to be jumping to that conclusion, but this B&N always seems to be busy. Maybe it’s a lot of people browsing and not buying? I understand the Amazon phenomenon, but I’d think this particular location would be pretty well insulated from that. Most of this store’s customers are travelers killing time, getting something to read on the train, or grabbing a last-minute gift on their way somewhere, rather than folks who go to a bookstore looking for a particular book.

        The Post has a story about the closing that says Union Station had other plans for that space and wanted to move B&N to a less desirable spot, but they decided to close instead of moving.

    • In my 20’s, I loved studying or hanging out and reading in B&N stores, sometimes buying and sometimes not. Guess that’s not a sustainable business model with Amazon around, but it is a shame as it was almost like a library without the usual problems associated with DC libraries. Where do people go now for that kind of thing? Coffeshops?

      • What do you feel are “the usual problems associated with DC libraries?” Have to been to any of the newly renovated ones like Petworth or Mt. Pleasant?

  • That’s a shame – I usually stopped in for a book and a magazine before train rides.

  • This makes me sad. R.I.P., brick-and-mortar bookstores.

  • Sad, but also sadly, I don’t think I’ve bought anything there in ages despite many trips to Union Station.

  • Union Station stores have always creeped me out, but this one seemed pretty busy usually…

  • +1 on “dongle.” Always makes me snicker.

  • Would be a great location for an Apple Store.

  • I’m hoping for Eataly with a Wagamama embedded in it.

  • i just bought the most recent copy of NME here last Friday. This B&N has one of the best, if not the best, magazine selections in the city. There is a huge market in DC for a specialty magazine store selling hard to find fashion, design, art, culture mags from around the globe – anyone want to go into business?

  • Its always sad when a book store fails even when its a part of a corporate chain, but how about a lament for the dc mom ‘n pop book stores of old: Vertigo Books (Dupont Circle), Mystery Books (Dupont), Olsons (Local Chain), Chapters (Down Town).

    What else do you remember and more importantly what mom ‘n pops are left that we shouldn’t forget? Ones I can think of: Kramer, Bridge Street Books, Reiters, Politics ‘n Prose, Capitol Hill Books, Bus Boys and Poets, Red Onion Records & Books (more music thank books though), Kulturas Books, Idle Time books and Second Story Books

    By the way, a plug for a great Baltimore book store: when in Hampden consider checking out Atomic Books (

  • This is actually the LAST B Dalton bookstore left in the US… All of the others closed down a couple of years ago and this one remained (and was renamed B&N) because Union Station had an ironclad lease… That said, all is not lost in NE… B&N has just executed a lease for a new store in Brookland at Monroe Street Market. It will be a fusion store (part college bookstore, part regular store) complete with a Starbucks — before you gripe, Brookland is one of the few DC neighborhoods that could actually use one… The store will be about the size of a typical B&N superstore… That project will also have a large Harris Teeter among other tenants… As for Apple, they probably won’t go to Union Station; however, they are going to City Center… They plan to open a flagship store at the corner of 11th and NY… Watch for this and more official announcements soon (think Top Shop, Uniqlo, etc.)…

  • Anyone know if they are doing a “closing sale”?

  • Attn: Union Station Management

    Even airports have bookstores, it is an important part of your being a transportation hub and intercity train travel being seen as equal to or even superior to air travel. You’re probably thinking, prime space, high rents, how do I get my hands on that. Think again, that is penny wise and pound foolish. Call Kramerbooks or another local, offer them a cheap lease, and have them put in a great bookstore/cafe combo. Overall business in the station will improve as a result, and you’ll make more money in the end.

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