Barnes and Noble

Topics: Bookselling, Barnes & Noble, Bookstores Pages: 4 (1030 words) Published: April 15, 2005
Barnes & Noble does business -- big business -- by the book. As the #1 bookseller in the US, it operates about 650 superstores throughout 49 states and the District of Columbia under the banners Barnes & Noble, Bookstop, and Bookstar, as well as about 200 mall stores using the names B. Dalton, Doubleday, and Scribner's. The company's GameStop subsidiary is the #1 US video game retailer with about 1,500 stores under the names Babbage's Etc., GameStop, and FuncoLand. Barnes & Noble owned about 75% of online book seller after purchasing Bertelsmann's interest in 2003; Barnes & Noble then purchased all remaining shares and took the company private in May 2004. Barnes & Noble dates back to 1873 when Charles Barnes went into the used-book business in Wheaton, Illinois. By the turn of the century, he was operating a thriving bookselling operation in Chicago. His son William took over as president in 1902. William sold his share in the firm in 1917, to C. W. Follett, who later built Follett Corp, and moved to New York City, where he bought an interest in established textbook wholesalers Noble & Noble. The company was soon renamed Barnes & Noble. It first sold mainly to colleges and libraries, providing textbooks and opening a large Fifth Avenue shop. Over the next three decades, Barnes & Noble became one of the leading booksellers in the New York region.

Freshman Leonard Riggio, who worked at a New York University bookstore to help pay for night school. He studied engineering but got the itch for bookselling. In 1965, at age 24, he borrowed $5,000 and opened Student Book Exchange NYC, a college bookstore. Beginning in the late 1960s, he expanded by buying other college bookstores.

In 1971 Riggio paid $1.2 million for the Barnes & Noble store on Fifth Avenue. He soon expanded the store, and in 1974 he began offering jaw-dropping, competitor-maddening discounts of up to 40% for best-sellers. Acquiring Marboro...
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