Newsweek – 2:24 PM EST – Amazon and B&N announced that they would close the online bookstores that had been their dominant players in recent years, and the two companies announced they were laying off an additional 200 employees.
The news came after Amazon’s and B & N’s book rental sites, which had been a mainstay of Amazon’s retail business, began shutting down in the wake of the book-sharing website’s acquisition by Barnes & Nobles.
Amazon and Amazon Prime members will have to search for and sign up for a new, separate subscription service, and both companies will also cease offering new book deals.
In a blog post, Amazon said it was closing all of its online book rentals and shutting down the remaining stores in the U.S. and Canada.
B &N said that it was also shutting down its online retail business.
Amazon’s decision to close the sites and sever ties with the former is a major blow to its book business, which has struggled with declining traffic and an aging customer base.
“We have not been able to continue to attract and retain new and loyal customers in the last few years, which was critical to our growth and profitability,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in the announcement.
“The end of these two great businesses will not bring back those customers, and will hurt our business as a whole.”
Amazon has said that the move was meant to “protect our customers and ensure that they can continue to enjoy their Amazon Prime membership, Kindle, and video book offerings,” but the company is not revealing how many people will lose their current jobs as a result.
Amazon said the bookstores were not able to meet its sales expectations, and its sales have declined by a third in the past year.
The decision was a result of the Amazon acquisition, which includes B & n’s acquisition of the company.
Amazon also said that its sales of video books will be impacted by the closure of the remaining B& N stores, and that Amazon Prime subscribers will be required to pay $2.99 for a year’s membership.
Earlier this year, B & P closed its online bookstore, which sold more than two million books, but B& n said that as a way of keeping the company’s business viable, it had to shut down its entire online book business.
Barnes & Noble said that in the months following the announcement, the company was able to reduce its online store sales by 10 percent and its online video book sales by nearly 30 percent.
B&n said that those two actions resulted in an “impressive reduction in overall sales,” but it added that it will continue to offer the same value proposition that Amazon offered.
“In addition to continuing to offer a high-quality online store, we are also excited to continue the partnership with Amazon,” B& P said in a statement.
“Together, our teams will continue delivering great content and services, including exclusive titles, to customers.
We are very grateful to the Amazon team for all the support they have given us over the years.”
Earlier today, B&P said that some of its stores were still operating.
B&N said in its announcement that the decision to shut the stores was “made as a last resort,” but added that B&M will continue offering its online services, as well as its video book program.
It’s unclear what impact the announcement will have on Amazon Prime customers.
BN said on its website that the sale of new books will continue as usual.
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