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Barnes & Noble Closes Textbook Store, Onetime Flagship In Flatiron District

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Barnes & Noble college bookstore at 105 Fifth Ave. in the Flatiron District closed its doors this week.

The store at Fifth Avenue and 18th Street closed Monday night, and the company filed a notice with the New York State Department of Labor the following day announcing that the 56 employees of the store would be laid off by the end of the month, according to a Crain's New York Business report.

A call to the store by CBS New York was sent to a recorded message directing customers to another store.

"This location is now permanently closed. Please visit the Barnes and Noble location on 17th Street in Union Square for your shopping needs," the message said.

A spokeswoman told the newspaper the bookstore served students when many colleges and universities had no bookstores on campus, but many students now buy their books either on campus or online.

The Flatiron bookstore only sold college and trade books and not general literature, according to published reports.

The location was once the Barnes and Noble flagship, and opened in 1932. When Leonard Riggio purchased the Barnes and Noble name, the Flatiron store was the only retail location, according to the store website.

"Within a few years, Mr. Riggio transformed the Fifth Avenue store into 'The World's Largest Bookstore,' with 150,000 textbook and trade titles," the site said.

Barnes & Noble announced plans last summer to close 15 to 20 stores this year, the newspaper reported.

Locations at Sixth Avenue and West 8th Street in Greenwich Village; Sixth Avenue and West 21st Street in the Flatiron District, and at Lincoln Center also have closed in recent years.

Onetime competitor Borders Books and Music went out of business completely in 2011.

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