Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Type Public
Traded as NYSEBKS
Industry Retail (Specialty)
Founded Wheaton, Illinois, U.S. (1873 as a printing business)
New York City, New York, U.S. (1917 first bookstore opened)
Founder(s) Charles M. Barnes
William Barnes
G. Clifford Noble
Headquarters 122 5th Ave
New York City, New York
, U.S.
Number of locations 717 stores as of October 30, 2010; 637 college bookstores
Key people Leonard Riggio, Chairman
William J. Lynch, Jr., CEO
Steve Riggio, Vice Chair
Mitchell S. Klipper, CEO, Retail
Products Barnes & Noble Booksellers
B. Dalton
Scribner's Bookstores
Doubleday Bookstores
Sterling Publishing Co.
Revenue increase US$5.12 Billion (FY 2009)[1]
Operating income increase US$143 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Net income increase US$75.9 Million (FY 2009)[1]
Total assets decrease US$2.99 Billion (FY 2009)[2]
Total equity decrease US$922 Million (FY 2009)[2]
Employees 40,000 (2008)[3]
Website (consumer site) (corporate site)
Barnes & Noble's flagship store at 105 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York has been operating since 1932.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSEBKS) is the largest book retailer in the United States,[4][5] operating mainly through its Barnes & Noble Booksellers chain of bookstores headquartered at 122 Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron District in Manhattan in New York City.[6] Barnes & Noble also operated the chain of small B. Dalton Booksellers stores in malls until they announced the liquidation of the chain. The company is known for large, upscale retail outlets, many of which contain a café serving Starbucks Coffee, and for competitive discounting of bestsellers. Most stores also sell magazines, newspapers, DVDs, graphic novels, gifts, games, and music. Video games and related items were sold in the company's GameStop retail outlets until October 2004, when the division was spun off into an independent company. Barnes & Noble is also known for selling the Barnes & Noble Nook, as well as various incarnations of its mascot, a teddy bear named "Barnsie".

The company operates 717 stores (as of October 30, 2010) in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in addition to 637 college bookstores, which serve nearly 4 million students and 250,000 faculty members across the country.[7]



Barnes and Noble corporate headquarters

Barnes & Noble originated in 1873 when Charles Barnes opened a book-printing business in Wheaton, Illinois. Their first true bookstore was set up by his son, William, in partnership with G. Clifford Noble, in 1917 in New York City.[8] The original bookstore was at 31 West 15th St., and opened during World War I. In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, the bookstore was moved to its current flagship location on 18th Street and Fifth Avenue.[9]

The business was purchased in 1971 by Leonard Riggio, who oversaw the growth of the business. In 1974, Barnes & Noble became the first bookstore to advertise on television, and a year later, the company became the first bookseller in America to discount books, by selling The New York Times best-selling titles at 40% off the publishers’ list price.[10] During the 1970s and 1980s, Barnes & Noble opened smaller discount stores, which were eventually phased out in favor of larger stores. They also began to publish their own books to be sold to mail-order customers. These titles were primarily affordable reissues of out-of-print titles, and selling them through mail-order catalogs allowed Barnes & Noble to reach new customers nationwide.

Barnes & Noble continued to expand throughout the 1980s, and in 1987 purchased the primarily shopping mall-based B. Dalton chain from Dayton Hudson. The last B. Dalton stores were slated to close in January 2010. The acquisition of 797 bookstores turned the company into a nationwide retailer, and as of the end of fiscal year 1999, the second-largest online bookseller in the United States.[11] B&N's critics claim that it has contributed to the decline of local and independent booksellers.[12]

Before Barnes & Noble created its web site, it sold books directly to customers through mail-order catalogs. It first began selling books online in the late 1980s, but the company’s website was not launched until May 1997.[9] According to the site, it now carries over 2 million titles.[13]

Barnes & Noble store in Winston Salem, North Carolina

In 2002, Leonard Riggio's brother Stephen Riggio was named CEO. Barnes & Noble has been spending millions on legal fees to defend against a lawsuit by billionaire investor Ron Burkle.[14] Burkle is engaged in a proxy fight against chairman Steve Riggio in an attempt to change the management and direction of Barnes & Noble.[15] Burkle is concerned about falling profits and disagrees with Barnes & Noble's e-book strategy.[16]

On August 3, 2010, the company announced that its board was considering a sale of the company, possibly to an investor group led by its chairman, Leonard Riggio.[17][18]

Steve Riggio was CEO from January 2003 until March 2010. Riggio began his career at Barnes & Noble in 1975 after graduating from Brooklyn College. After getting his start in the buying and merchandising departments, he became general manager and vice president of the company’s direct mail division in 1981, and held that position until 1987. In 1995, he was appointed chief operating officer, and in January 2003 he was appointed CEO.[19] According to, in 2007 Riggio’s salary was $786,358. He also earns $2,323,942 in other long-term compensation, for a yearly grand total of $3,110,480.[20]

In March 2010, William Lynch, formerly the president of the company's website, who is credited with helping launch the company's electronic book store and overseeing the introduction of its electronic book reader, the Nook, was appointed CEO, in a move that according to USA Today, underscores the importance of digital books to the bookseller's future. Steve Riggio stayed on as vice chairman.[21]


Barnes & Noble publishes some of the books it sells, inexpensively reprinting non-copyrighted titles or acquiring the U.S. or English language rights from another publisher. In addition, Barnes & Noble commissions reprint anthologies and omnibus editions using in-house editors.

Barnes & Noble began to publish books during the 1980s, when they started reissuing out-of-print titles. One of these titles, The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin, has sold over 250,000 copies.[22] The reissued edition of The Columbia History of the World by John Garrity, for example has sold over 1 million copies.[23]

Since then, the company has expanded its publishing operation. This expansion was aided by the company’s acquisition of SparkNotes, an educational website and publishing company. Further expansions of the company’s publishing business include the purchase of how-to publisher Sterling Publishing in 2003.[23]

From around 1992 through early 2003, Barnes & Noble released a series of literary classics for adults and children under the imprint Barnes & Noble Classics Collection. Originally available only in hardcover, most titles came in a black or cream-colored dustjacket edition. In 2003, Barnes & Noble revamped and expanded its line of literature classics, releasing books in hardcover, trade paperback and mass-market editions.[citation needed]

In addition, Barnes & Noble has a second paperback series called the Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading.[citation needed]

The Barnes & Noble cafe in Springfield, New Jersey


The first store to feature a café serving Starbucks beverages was in Springfield, New Jersey in 1993. Since then, most stores have been amended or constructed specifically to feature a cafe serving Starbucks beverages, Harney & Sons or Tazo Tea, FIJI Bottled Water, bakery goods from The Cheesecake Factory, candy from Godiva Chocolatiers, sandwiches and other specialty products. Although the cafés are owned and operated by Barnes & Noble, servers follow Starbucks' standards in beverage preparation; the prominent Starbucks logo is sometimes confusing for customers wanting to use their Starbucks Stored-Value Cards or Gold Card, which are not accepted (the Barnes & Noble membership card is accepted to receive a discount on any café related goods).[citation needed]

In 2004, Barnes & Noble began offering Wi-Fi in the café area of selected stores, using the AT&T FreedomLink network. All 777 stores currently offer Wi-Fi, an effort which was completed in 2006. As of July 27, 2009, Wi-Fi is offered for free to all customers.[24]

The Barnes & Noble at The Grove at Farmers Market, Los Angeles.
Barnes & Noble in Lynnwood, Washington, using the former 1990s logo sign.

Community involvement

Barnes & Noble hires community relations managers to engage in community outreach. The responsibilities of these managers include organizing in-store events, such as author appearances, children’s storytimes and book groups. Community relations managers work closely with local schools and groups for the promotion of literacy and the arts. One of the things that Barnes & Noble does in the community is sponsor a children's summer reading program that promotes literacy and puts over 2 million books into the hands of the children each year.[25] Barnes & Noble also hosts bookfairs which raise funds for schools and libraries. The company also hosts an annual holiday book drive to collect books for disadvantaged children. 1.16 million books were collected and distributed in 2007.[26] To promote nationwide literacy among 1st to 6th graders and encourage more reading during the summer, Barnes & Noble has implemented a summer challenge where if children read 8 books and write about their reading, Barnes & Noble will give the readers a free book.[27]

Barnes & Noble Nook

Barnes & Noble Nook is an electronic book reader developed by the company,[28] based on the Android platform. The device was announced in the United States on October 20, 2009, and was released November 30, 2009, for US$259.[29] On June 21, 2010 Barnes & Noble reduced the Nook's price to US$199, as well as the launch of a new Wi-Fi-only model, for US$149. They also released a Nook colored touch screen for US$249.[30]

The Nook competes with the Amazon Kindle, Kobo eReader, Sony Reader, Apple's iBooks for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and other readers. The device features a 6-inch touchscreen and an onscreen keyboard.[31] Version 1.3 of the Nook includes Wi-Fi connectivity, a web browser, a dictionary, chess and sudoku games, and a separate, smaller color touchscreen that serves as the primary input device. The Nook also features a Read in Store capability that allows visitors to stream and read books for up to one hour while shopping in a Barnes & Noble Store. According to a June 2010 CNet article, the company plans to expand this feature to include periodicals in the near future.[32] The color version of the Nook features a 7-inch color touchscreen, and the ability to view at portrait or landscape orientation.[33]

College bookstores

Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, Inc., headquartered in Basking Ridge, NJ, is a subsidiary of the company which operates bookstores at more than 600 institutions of higher education. College Bookstores was previously owned by company chairman Leonard Riggio.

Barnes & Noble College Booksellers also operates the self-proclaimed "world's largest bookstore," located on Fifth Avenue and 18th Street in New York City. This flagship store carries a large variety of textbooks, medical and legal books, and medical supplies in addition to the various trade titles carried at the company's main stores.

See also

Portal icon New York City portal
Portal icon Companies portal
Portal icon Books portal


  1. ^ a b c Barnes & Noble (BKS) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest
  2. ^ a b Barnes & Noble (BKS) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest
  3. ^ "Company Profile for Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS)". Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  4. ^ "Barnes & Noble." The New York Times. Retrieved on July 23, 2011.
  5. ^ According to the Spring 2005 EquiTrend Brand Study by Harris Interactive: Barnes & Noble Rated America's Number One Retail Brand for Overall Quality for the Fourth Year in a Row. FindArticles. Retrieved 2008-06-13 
  6. ^ "National Sponsorships and Donations." Barnes & Noble. Retrieved on January 29, 2010. "Barnes & Noble 122 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10011"
  7. ^ "For Investors" at
  8. ^ Blair, Cynthia. "1917: First Barnes & Noble Bookstore Opens in Manhattan". Newsday. Archived from the original on 2007-10-01.,0,5026610.htmlstory. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  9. ^ a b Tavani, Andrew. "End of an Era for Barnes & Noble in Hoboken" Hoboken Patch; January 29, 2010
  10. ^ Barnes & Noble History. Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2008-06-13 
  11. ^
  12. ^ St. John, Warren (1999-07-06). "Barnes & Noble's Epiphany". Wired. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  13. ^ About Barnes &; Barnes&; Accessed September 4, 2010
  14. ^ Gutierrez, Carl (2010-08-24). "Brawl With Burkle Weighs On Barnes & Noble". Forbes. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  15. ^ Weinman, Sarah (2010-08-19). "Barnes & Noble's Founder Digs In for Proxy Fight With Ron Burkle". DailyFinance. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  16. ^ Wahba, Phil (2010-09-03). "TIMELINE-Ron Burkle's proxy fight for Barnes & Noble". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  17. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn, "Will Barnes and Noble sell itself?", Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2010
  18. ^ "Barnes & Noble to Evaluate Strategic Alternatives", NEW YORK : Business Wire, August 3, 2010
  19. ^ Barnes & Noble Booksellers
  20. ^ "Stephen Riggio". Forbes. Retrieved 2007-09-18. 
  21. ^ "Barnes & Noble names website head William Lynch as CEO". USA Today. March 18, 2010
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b Barnes & Noble History; Barnes & Noble Inc.; Accessed September 4, 2010
  24. ^ Colker, David. "Internet wants to be free at Barnes & Noble", Los Angeles Times, July 29, 2009
  25. ^ Community page at Barnes & Noble Booksellers; Accessed September 5, 2010
  26. ^ Holiday Book Drive; Barnes & Noble Booksellers; Accessed September 5, 2010
  27. ^ "Summer Reading Challenge". Barnes & Noble website. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  28. ^ Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Geoffrey A. Fowler (October 20, 2009). "B&N Reader Out Tuesday". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 20, 2009. 
  29. ^ Ina Fried (October 19, 2009). "Barnes & Noble's 'Nook' said to cost $259". cnet news. Retrieved October 20, 2009. 
  30. ^ "Barnes & Noble Cuts Nook Price". CBS News. June 21, 2010. 
  31. ^ Nook Features. Barnes & Noble. accessed August 3, 2011.
  32. ^ David Carnoy (April 23, 2010). "B&N delivers meaty Nook update, teases iPad app". cnet news. Retrieved June 7, 2010. 
  33. ^ Nook Color Features. Barnes & Noble. accessed August 3, 2011.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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