The British media conglomerate Pearson plc announced on December 28, 2012, a strategic investment in NOOK Media, LLC, the new company founded by Barnes & Noble and Microsoft that consists of Barnes & Noble's digital businesses including its NOOK e-reader and tablets, the NOOK digital bookstore and its 674 college bookstores across the U.S. Pearson is investing $89,500,000 in cash in NOOK Media, gaining a 5% equity stake.
In the wake of this transaction, Barnes & Noble, Inc. will own approximately 78.2% of NOOK Media and Microsoft will own approximately 16.8%. Will Ethridge, CEO of Pearson North America, said, "Pearson and Barnes & Noble have been valued partners for decades, and in recent years both have invested heavily and imaginatively to provide engaging and effective digital reading and learning experiences. This new agreement extends our partnership and deepens our commitment to provide better, easier experiences for our customers. With this investment we have entered into a commercial agreement with NOOK Media that will allow our two companies to work closely together in order to create a more seamless and effective experience for students. It is another example of our strategy of making our content and services broadly available to students and faculty through a wide range of distribution partners."
Barnes & Noble, Inc. is a publicly traded company listed on the NYSE under the symbol "BKS." In October of 2012, Barnes & Noble, Inc. and Microsoft announced that they had entered their previously announced partnership in NOOK Media, LLC, which comprises what had been the digital and college divisions of Barnes & Noble. Microsoft made its $300,000,000 investment in NOOK Media LLC at a post-money valuation of $1,700,000,000 in exchange for an approximately 17.6% equity stake, while Barnes & Noble retained 82.4% of the shares.
As of last July, Barnes & Noble operated 691 Barnes & Noble and B. Dalton retail bookstores. In addition, Barnes & Noble College Bookstores, LLC – now known as Barnes & Noble College – operated 641 college bookstores on colleges and university campuses distributed throughout all fifty states. These college bookstores serve approximately 4,600,000 students and 250,000 faculty members.
Before the collapse of Borders and Barnes & Noble spun-off NOOK Media, it would be fair to say Barnes & Noble was a competitor of both Borders in the category of trade book superstores and Follett Higher Education in the category of textbook stores as the latter’s Follett College Bookstores division operates 850 college bookstores. Follett and Barnes & Noble were both founded in Wheaton, Illinois, in 1873, Barnes & Noble as a printer and Follett as a bookstore.
In 1917, William Barnes, son of founder Charles Barnes, founded the first Barnes & Noble bookshop with partner G. Clifford Noble, at 31 West 15th Street in New York City. In 1932, the organization moved and the flagship store – The Barnes & Noble Bookstore – at 18th Street and Fifth Avenue opened.
Leonard Riggio, the Chairman of Banes & Noble, became a bookseller while attending New York University in the early 1960s as a clerk in the university bookstore. Convinced that he could do a better job serving students, he opened a competing store of his own.
In 1965, Riggio established the Student Book Exchange (SBX) in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. By the 1970s, Mr. Riggio had a thriving business that included six other college bookstores, and he acquired the flagship Barnes & Noble trade name and flagship bookstore in Manhattan, which had fallen into decline.
Within a few years, he transformed The Barnes & Noble Bookstore on Fifth Avenue into "The World’s Largest Bookstore," with 150,000 textbook and trade titles. In 1974, with an award-winning campaign in the New York market, Barnes & Noble became the first American bookseller to advertise on television.
The next year, 1975, Barnes & Noble became the first American bookseller to offer New York Times bestsellers at 40% off publishers’ list prices. Barnes & Noble opened a 40,000-square-foot Sale Annex directly across from The Barnes & Noble Bookstore.
The company expanded in the New York City and Boston markets by opening smaller discount bookstores and acquired two local chains, BookMasters and Marboro Books, and converted them into Barnes & Noble discount stores. At first, these stores were successful and expanded to fifty locations. However, the company eventually phased them out in order to concentrate on larger book superstores.
With the acquisition of Marboro Books, Barnes & Noble gained a foothold in the growing mail-order business, a jumping-off point for reaching customers nationwide. As a result, the company gained insight about reader demand and began to publish books for mail-order customers, mostly new editions of out-of-print books. Today, Barnes & Noble editions of The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin and The Columbia History of the World by John Garrity have respectively sold over 250,000 and 1,000,000 copies.
In the 1980s, Barnes & Noble experimented with different store formats and sizes. The company’s goal became to create suburban superstores that mimicked the flagship store in Manhattan.
The company made its largest acquisition in 1987 when it purchased B. Dalton Bookseller from the Dayton-Hudson Corporation, a company that is famous here in the Midwest. Barnes & Noble’s acquisition of 797 B. Dalten bookstores gave Barnes & Noble a national profile as the second-biggest bookseller in the U.S. The company also acquired from the Bertelsmann Company the Doubleday Book Shops and acquired from Macmillan the rights to the Scribner’s bookstore trade name.
In 1989, as part of its superstore strategy, Barnes & Noble purchased BookStop, a company that operated discount book superstores in Texas. The company thus gained key insights about operating book superstores, from real estate to operations to marketing and merchandising.
In the early 1990s, the company refined its superstore concept and established the modern generation of Barnes & Noble superstores, which today represent over 96% of the company’s retail sales. According to the company, “Barnes & Noble superstores have become the information piazzas of America. They combine a vast and deep selection of book titles with an experienced bookselling staff and a warm, comfortable and spacious atmosphere. They also offer a comprehensive inventory of music and DVDs… Further enhancing the stores’ appeal as destinations are our cafés...”
In 1993, Barnes & Noble became a publicly traded company. The first step the corporation took toward selling books, movies, and music via the Internet, which built on the precedent of its mail-order catalog, came in the late 1980s, through Trintex, a joint venture between IBM and Sears, Roebuck & Company. In the mid-1990s, it sold books on CompuServe and in March of 1997 opened a store on America Online (AOL).
A few months later, in May, the corporation launched its first Web site, Barnes & Noble.com. The company states, “With more than one million unique titles, the site’s standing inventory is the largest of any bookseller online. Customers also have access through BN.com to millions of used and out-of-print book titles from a network of authorized book dealers, as well as a vast selection of music CDs and DVDs.”
That last statement was a reference to B&N Marketplace. The physical address of BN.com is 76 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10011.
After the turn of the century, Barnes & Noble made two acquisitions that expanded its publishing capability. In 2001, the company purchased SparkNotes.com, a leading study aids Web site that offered free online access to literature notes and more than 1,000 study guides on everything from literature to chemistry. SparkNotes converted its most popular online study guides into publications, and they soon become bestsellers.
In January of 2003, Barnes & Noble acquired Sterling Publishing, which has been in business for over sixty years and has more than 5,000 titles in print, including educational resources, children’s picture books, puzzles and games, adult fiction, craft and photography, cookbooks, self-help books, and classics. Like Barnes & Noble, Sterling Publishing is based in New York City, but has a crafting division, Lark Books, located in Asheville, North Carolina.
In July of 2009, Barnes & Noble launched the world's largest eBookstore (now known as the NOOK Bookstore™). A few months later, in October of 2009, Barnes & Noble introduced NOOK®, the first Android-based eBook Reader.
This first NOOK is now known as the NOOK 1st Edition™. It was both the first eBook Reader to feature a color touchscreen for navigation and the first to offer digital lending of a wide selection of NOOK Books™ to help customers share their joy of reading.
One year later, the company launched NOOK Color™, the first full-color touch Reader’s Tablet™. In May of 2011, Barnes & Noble introduced NOOK Simple Touch™. A few months later, in November 2011, Barnes & Noble launched NOOK Tablet.
In April 2012, Barnes & Noble launched NOOK Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™, the world’s first E Ink® Reader that lets one read in the dark. Last September, Barnes & Noble launched seven-inch NOOK HD and nine-inch NOOK HD+, the lightest HD (high-definition) and full HD tablets.
As CBS reported, in 2009 Barnes & Noble opened a second flagship store in New York City. This 55,000-square-foot, multi-story bookshop at 86th Street and Lexington Avenue on the East Side had capacity for 400,000 books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, and a Starbucks café. The opening ceremony included appearances by Winnie-the-Pooh, the comedian Lewis Black, the astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and the chef Emeril Lagasse.
The old flagship store, The Barnes & Noble Bookstore on Fifth Avenue is now the flagship of Barnes & Noble College. The address of this store is 105 Fifth Avenue or 6 18th Street, New York, New York 10003.
 It started as a department store in Minneapolis, Dayton’s, that merged with a department store in Detroit, Hudson’s. Minneapolis-based Dayton-Hudson created Target in 1962, purchased Marshall Field & Company in 1992, initially attempted to remake Marshall Field’s in the image of Dayton-Hudson, then turned the Dayton’s and Hudson’s stores into Marshall Field’s stores in 2001, and sold the Marshall Field’s chain to the May Department Stores Company in 2004, having become the Target Corporation in 2000. Federated Department Stores acquired the May Company in 2005 and Federated Department Stores changed its name to Macey’s, Inc. (in honor of one of its chains) and converted Marshall Field’s into Macey’s in 2006.