Barnes & Noble, the nation's largest brick-and-mortar bookseller, has been sold for $638 million.

The buyer, according to the New York Times, is Elliott Advisors, a hedge fund.

Last year, Elliott Advisors acquired Waterstones, a British bookseller.

A number of publishers, the Times reports, had been worried about the future of Barnes & Noble, a chain they count on to get their books in front of prospective buyers. A number of independent booksellers have closed in recent years, as did Borders Books & Music, a one-time Barnes & Noble competitor.

Many blame Amazon, which has a larger selection and often offers cheaper prices, for the industry's woes.

There are just over 600 Barnes & Noble stores, the Times says, following the closures of about 150 locations across the U.S.

“Somebody else had to save Barnes & Noble — the present ownership succeeded in a completely different environment and was not ready to jump into the 21st century,” Mike Shatzkin, who works for a book industry consulting fim, told the newspaper. “The fact that they own Waterstones certainly puts them in the right direction. Their ability to influence the publishing industry is going to be stronger being in both markets.”