–Dan Kelly, Attorney

As reported by the Star Tribune, the first B. Dalton Bookseller bookstore will be among the last to close:  the B. Dalton bookstore at Southdale Center in Edina, Minnesota closes tomorrow after a 44 year run.

Even if a bit sad for the sentimentalists among us (and I am one) to watch another relatively longstanding brand go down in chains, so to speak, this was not altogether unpredictable given modern book retailing.  The B. Dalton brand has virtually no online presence whatsoever.  The domain names bdalton.com, bdaltons.com, bdaltonbooks.com, bdaltonbookseller.com, and bdaltonbooksellers.com, all appear to be parked with pay-per-click pages.  Of the thirty or so trademark registrations in which B. Dalton had an interest at one point or another, twenty-six of them have lapsed or been canceled.  Parent company Barnes & Noble has openly discussed the “controlled descent” of B. Dalton stores in recent annual reports.  The store closing at Southdale is not even the original store that opened there–it moved to a more remote locale within the mall years ago.

Karen’s recent posts on the death of the Tavern on the Green have raised some of the same issues at play here:  whither the B. Dalton brand?  One thing that distinguishes the two cases, in my mind, is that the Tavern on the Green brand is reportedly valued at $19 million.  (Query:  how does a company with one business location and a $19 million asset go bankrupt?)  At its height, the B. Dalton brand might have been worth millions, but now it is probably synonymous with “mall-based bookstore with slow sales.”  Perhaps it might appraise at a few hundred thousand dollars, but an estimate is not worth very much if there is no buyer.  So long B. Dalton!