No need to worry, local book lovers.

A Barnes & Noble spokesperson said Tuesday that the bookstore chain doesn't have plans to close its stores in Elmira, N.Y. and Ithaca, N.Y.

The spokesperson confirmed that the stores will remain open, when asked for comment about an article in "The Wall Street Journal" that reported on closures by Barnes & Noble.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that "the head of Barnes & Noble's retail group, Mitchel Klipper, said in an interview published today in 'The Wall Street Journal' that the company will have 450 to 500 stores in a decade. That's down from about 689 currently."

In response, the following statement from Mary Ellen Keating, Barnes & Noble spokesperson, was provided:

"Barnes & Noble has not adjusted its store closing plan whatsoever," she stated. "'The Wall Street Journal' article implies that our rate of store closures has changed. We have historically closed approximately 15 stores per year for the past 10 years. Of that number some of the stores are unprofitable while others are relocations to better properties. The numbers reported today by the Wall Street Journal are consistent with analysts' expectations."

She added that "it should be noted that in 2012, Barnes & Noble opened two new prototype stores and in 2013 plans to test several other prototypes, as well. Barnes & Noble has great real estate in prime locations and the Company's management is fully committed to the retail concept for the long term."

According to the Associated Press, Barnes & Noble "has been facing tough competition from online retailers and discounters that sell books and has been focusing on its Nook tablet, e-book reader and e-book business for growth."

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: