Industry Booming: Barnes & Noble Plans to Open 30 Stores Next Year

Barnes & Noble plans to open 30 shops in 2023, establishing it as the market leader in the so-called big-box resurgence. 

This growth occurs after more than 10 years of reducing its workforce in reaction to Amazon’s rivalry. A handful of the store openings being established in the Boston area will occupy spaces recently vacated by Amazon Books, which is maybe appropriate.

COVID Brought Increase for Books

Due to the increased demand for books and reading brought on by the epidemic — more people read since they were confined to their homes and Barnes & Noble outlets were able to enhance when they were closed — this growth is achievable.

In 2008, Barnes & Noble had 726 stores across the United States, but there are now only 600. With its planned launches for 2023, more outlets will debut than close. The new locations will resemble bookshops in appearance and will persuade users to linger.

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After years of losses, Barnes & Noble’s revenues are rising and its expenses are down; some who have viewed it as a monster for decades are ecstatic about its triumph.

Today, practically the entire publishing business, including the majority of independent merchants, supports Barnes & Noble.

Its special position in the book ecosystem, in which it enables users to find new titles and publishers to keep investing in physical shops, makes it an indispensable anchor in a world turned upside down by internet retail and a much bigger player: Amazon.

Jane Dystel, a literary agent whose clients include Colleen Hoover, who has four titles on the New York Times best-seller list this week, says it would be a catastrophe if they closed down. Without this publication chain, the printing industry would be in serious trouble.

The epidemic presented Barnes & Noble with numerous obstacles. The majority of its outlets lacked readings and author appearances for almost two years.

The cafe’s business continues to decline. In December, when the holiday shopping season began, Omicron came. Due to a lack of visitors and office workers, a significant number of the chain’s metropolitan downtown outlets continue to operate poorly.

Regardless, Barnes & Noble outlets increased their sales by three percent in 2018, compared to their pre-pandemic results in 2019.

James Daunt, the company’s chief executive, stated the growth was achieved in the traditional manner: by selling more books, which increased by 14 percent.

Mr. Daunt stated he never would have imagined it at the beginning of the year, but it’s been incredible.

Growth is a Surprise

For several years, the antipathy of independent booksellers toward Barnes & Noble was so intense that even Tom Hanks was a convincing, if lovable, villain.

The mood was portrayed in the 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail.”

The film, co-written and directed by Nora Ephron, concentrated on Tom Hanks’ role, the owner of a huge bookshop chain, who drove Meg Ryan’s cherished independent bookstore out of business.