122 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10011
Barnes & Noble Booksellers — Overview:
The company operates approximately 700 retail bookstores in regional shopping malls, major strip centers and freestanding locations in 50 states, and 636 college bookstores serving more than 4.6 million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States. In addition, a large portion of its book business is conducted online through barnesandnoble.com.
With a long history in books, Barnes & Noble is now a leading content, commerce and technology company that provides customers easy and convenient access to not only books, but magazines, newspapers and other content across its multi-channel distribution platform.
Barnes & Noble's Early History:
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the Riggio made a number of bookselling innovations. In 1974, Barnes & Noble was the first bookseller in America to advertise on television. And, while now book discounting is an expected practice, in 1975 B&N became the first bookseller in America to sell books below publisher’s established list prices by offering New York Times bestsellers at 40% off.
Barnes & Noble expanded on its discounting success by opening a 40,000-square-foot Sale Annex directly across from its flagship store, then opened other, smaller bookstores based on the Sale Annex model. These stores featured remainders in addition to discounted bestsellers.
Around the late 70s, Barnes & Noble began acquiring other booksellers, including college bookstores, Bookmasters and Marboro books. Marboro Books gave Barnes & Noble a foothold in the mail-order book business, which had the added benefit of giving B&N some market research insights into book-buying habits. This prompted Barnes & Noble to respond to customer demand and begin publishing its own books for sale to its growing base of mail-order customers. These titles were primarily “bargain books,” including out-of-print books that were reissued in high quality, affordable editions, which added to B&N’s list of value-priced books.
(Read more about B&N founder, Len Riggio.)
B&N Expansion and the Superstore Era:
In the early 1990s, the Barnes & Noble adopted and refined its own superstore business, after a wildly popular concept pioneered by Borders. Superstores featured elegant fixtures, areas to lounge and read, cafes that served coffee (B&N serves Starbucks), and a mix of product that included retail music sections.
Barnes & Noble Goes Public... and Goes Online in the 1990s:
The Barnes & Noble.com website serves as the company’s largest store, enabling customers to order any book, music CDs and DVDs at any time, from anywhere. With more than one million unique titles, BN.com claims the site’s standing inventory is the largest of any bookseller online.
BN.com and the NOOK™ Era:
In October 2009 launched its proprietary, Android-based e-reader, The NOOK™, drawing on the strength of the Barnes & Noble Bookseller brand to woo readers to its platform. Since that time it’s launched increasingly devices with increasingly sophisticated capabilities, including the NOOK Color™ (October 2010), the NOOK The Simple Touch™ (May 2011) and the NOOK Tablet™ (November 2011).
The Future of Barnes & Noble:
Beginning in 2009, financier Ron Burkle began mounting a hostile takeover bid for the bookseller; Barnes & Noble instituted a poison pill defense, which was upheld in 2011 by a Delaware court on appeal.