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Barnes & Noble

Headquarters: 122 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
Employees: 20,000
CEO: James Daunt
Privately held


Career Site

Barnes & Noble is the nation's largest book retailer with 627 bookstores in all 50 states.

Barnes & Noble superstores average 25,000 square feet and feature a large selection and comfortable seating, including lounge chairs and reading tables.  Open seven days a week, the stores also carry wide selections of toys, gifts, music, DVD/video titles and magazines. 

Barnes & Noble stores offer cafes that sell coffee and snacks in a partnership with Starbucks, making it the country's second-largest coffeehouse. Stores have free Wi-fi Internet access.

The company spun off Barnes & Noble College in 2015, which operates 724 college bookstores serving over 5.3 million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States.

Barnes and Noble also operates a Nook Digital business that includes Nook Tablets and eReaders and a Nook Store that sells digital books, periodicals and comics.

In August of 2019, Barnes & Noble was acquired by hedge fund Elliott Advisors (UK) for $838 million, and James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones bookstores in the U.K., was appointed CEO.

Elliott acquired Waterstones, the largest bookseller in the United Kingdom, in 2018.


Barnes & Noble's beginnings can be traced to 1873, when Charles M. Barnes started a book business from his home in Wheaton, IL.  In 1917, his son, William, went to New York to join G. Clifford Noble in establishing Barnes & Noble.  During the height of the Great Depression, what later became the Barnes & Noble flagship store was opened on Fifth Avenue at 18th Street in New York City, where it still resides today. This store developed a worldwide reputation for excellence by serving millions of customers with its comprehensive selection of general trade books, academic titles and textbooks, and medical books.

Leonard Riggio, the company's current chairman, began his bookselling career while attending New York University in the early 1960s.  Working as a clerk in the university bookstore, he became convinced that he could do a better job serving students, and he opened a competing store of his own.  With a small investment, Mr. Riggio established the Student Book Exchange (SBX) in Manhattan's Greenwich Village in 1965.  The store quickly became one of New York's finest bookstores, known for its knowledgeable staff, wide selection and great service.

By the 1970s, Mr. Riggio's thriving business, which included six other college bookstores, acquired the flagship Barnes & Noble trade name and flagship bookstore in Manhattan, which had fallen into decline. Within a few years, Mr. Riggio transformed the Fifth Avenue store into "The World's Largest Bookstore," with 150,000 textbook and trade titles.   Mr. Riggio's commitment to students continues today through Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, a privately held company that operates more than 500 stores on college and university campuses across the United States and in Canada.

The company went on to acquire the B. Dalton and Bookstop chains. In the 1990s, the company refined its strategy and developed the superstore concept which makes up 96% of company sales today. The company launched its own Internet site in 1997 and now has one million books for sale online.

The company shut down all B. Dalton bookstores at the end of January 2010.

The company introduced the Nook in 2009, an electronic book reader, where readers can download books for purchase online. The Nook Tablet was introduced in 2011 which lets users browse the Internet, download apps, plus read magazines and books in a single device.


Barnes & Noble offers medical insurance coverage to both full- and part-time employees as well as a generous 401(k) plan. Workers get a 30% discount on books. Here are other benefits provided:

Health Benefits

Major Medical and Hospitalization
Vision Care
Preventive Care
Well Baby Care
Dental Care

Financial Benefits

Life Insurance
Business Travel Accident Insurance
Short-Term Disability Insurance
Long-Term Disability Insurance
401-K Plan with Full Vesting

Other Benefits

Vacation Days
Personal Days
Tuition Assistance
Book Loan Program
Merchandise Discounts
Transit Benefits

Updated November 11, 2021

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