These stores are moving to more and more of an online presence. We all understand why and no, it the answer is not the rise in "digital books" so much, but we will bring that up later. It is a matter of convenience. If I am sitting at home and heard of a book I want to read, I jump online and order it. Even when we would go to the bookstore and wanted a book that was out of stock, they would jump online and order it. In the end, we would wait a couple of days and the book would arrive and we could read to our heart's content. If we have a digital reader, we can start that book immediately. We know this is a trend when we listen to the reports over the holidays of the number of people shopping online. As we know, the number is huge.
Here is where the authors of the world need to start to panic a bit.
When we "went" to a book store, we would often browse the shelves. We might be going in to find the book we wanted, but we still stumbled across hidden gems. We would find new authors or new publishers hidden away amid all of the other books. Why did we find them? The answer was simple. The books were sitting there right in front of our face. Hundreds of books lined up on the shelves and we physically saw them and could pick from those choices.