Well-known R.I. nautical bookstore will close in April

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After 32 years of serving the book and charting needs of the boating community in Newport, R.I., and around the world, Armchair Sailor Bookstore announced it will be closing its doors at the end of April.

"Times have changed and the past few years been very difficult for independent specialty bookstore retailers," said John Mann, owner of Armchair Sailor, a subsidiary of Bluewater Books and Charts in Fort Lauderdale, in a statement. "Customers today often opt for the convenience of online purchasing for their reading materials and the explosion of e-book readers has dramatically affected hard-copy book sales.

"Couple those purchasing changes with technological advances that enable consumers to access inexpensive or free electronic versions of nautical charts and cruising guides that continue to erode the retail bookstore's market share," he added.

Armchair Sailor will have a going-away event to thank its loyal customers for their years of support, in addition to a month-long "spring sale" in April.

"The closing of the physical store in Newport will not affect our New England customers' ability to purchase nautical books and charts. In response to the changing business environment, we've restructured our organization and will have a seasoned professional available to serve our local customers," Mann added.

"Others will benefit from a new website that will be launching in the spring, as well as have access to the company's flagship store in Fort Lauderdale via the Internet or toll-free telephone number that has a considerably larger offering of products and dedicated sales staff to assist boaters," he said.

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