MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ B. Dalton Booksellers will expand at the expense of its Pickwick Discount Book Stores, which will be discontinued, the company's chairman said.

Seventeen of the Pickwick stores will convert to B. Dalton Booksellers and the remaining Pickwick stores will close effective June 17, Chairman Sherman E. Swenson said Tuesday.

The 37 stores are located in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, Columbus and Dallas-Fort Worth, said Mary Lilja, Dalton's manager of communications in Minneapolis.

''As part of B. Dalton's continuing effort to serve customers we are always testing a range of new strategies,'' Swenson said. He said many of the discounting concepts tested at Pickwick have been integrated into B. Dalton's business strategy.

Ms. Lilja attributed the company's decision to discontinue Pickwick largely to poor profit performance and competition from B. Dalton stores.

Pickwick was started in 1981 as a test market for discount books.