Workers on scaffolding erected a large yellow "store closing" banner above the entrance to the Books-A-Million in Palm Coast Thursday afternoon, as customers arriving to take advantage of everything-must-go sales expressed disbelief that the store — the only large bookstore in Flagler County — will soon be no more.
"I can't believe this place is closing," one said. A woman walking out of the store with a newly purchased Nook e-reader said she was "very upset" about the closing.
Another, Mary Lee Feeney, came to the store after hearing about the closing on Facebook, and walked out with a new book. But she usually doesn't shop there.
"I do most of my book shopping on Amazon," she said. "I think I get better deals there."
Competition from websites like Amazon and from e-readers that let people buy and download books instantly online have left traditional bookstores, especially large general-interest stores like Books-A-Million, struggling.
Borders went out of business in 2011, and Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million have closed store locations across the country.
Since the beginning of the year, Books-A-Million has closed stores in Jupiter; Columbia, S.C.; Hoover, Ala.; and Roseville, Mich.
A Palm Coast store employee told customers entering the store that April 15 will likely be the last day for the State Road 100 location. It has already been removed from the booksamillion.com store locator.