The company has been selling direct to consumers for over 25 years, beginning with its mail-order catalogue in the 1970s. In the late 1980s, Barnes & Noble tested selling books online in an early generation venue called Trintex, a joint venture between Sears and IBM. In the mid-1990s, it sold books on CompuServe and later opened a full-fledged book superstore on America Online in March 1997. The company’s Web site, Barnes & Noble.com (www.barnesandnoble.com), was launched in May of that year.
Today, the Barnes & Noble.com Web site serves as the company’s largest store, enabling customers to order any book any time from anywhere. With more than one million unique titles, the site’s standing inventory is the largest of any bookseller online. Customers also have access through Barnes & Noble.com to millions of used and out-of-print titles from a network of authorized book dealers, as well as a vast selection of music CDs and DVDs. TOP
The company began publishing books in the early 1980s by reissuing affordable editions of out-of-print titles. Its editions of The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin and The Columbia History of the World by John Garrity have sold over 250,000 and 1 million copies, respectively. Over the next decade, Barnes & Noble’s nationwide store base enabled it to expand its publishing operation and become a leader in illustrated book publishing.
The company has made two acquisitions that expanded its publishing capability.
In 2001, Barnes & Noble purchased SparkNotes.com, a leading study aids Web site, offering free online access to literature notes and more than 1,000 study guides on everything from literature to chemistry to computer science. SparkNotes converted its top study guides into print publications, and they have rapidly become bestsellers. In 2003, Barnes & Noble purchased Sterling Publishing, one of the top 25 publishers in America and the industry's...