Careers at Barnes & Noble
Barnes and Noble aims to provide a varied choice of books that cater to a broad spectrum of consumers, and that is available through an accessible and flexible multichannel sales and distribution system.
Barnes and Noble organises its operations into two reportable business segments:
- Barnes and Noble Retail, which operates the Company’s physical business, comprising its chain of 640 bookstores, primarily under the Barnes and Noble Booksellers trade name, through which it sells books, music, toys and games, DVDs, and magazines, and operates cafes; and
- NOOK, which operates the Company’s digital business, which includes the Company’s eBookstore, digital newsstand and sales of NOOK devices and accessories.
Barnes and Noble has a long history, which can be traced back to the establishment of Arthur Hinds and Company in 1886. Gilbert Clifford Noble (“Noble”) was subsequently hired to work at the store as a clerk, and in 1894 was made a partner of the Company, which then assumed the name Hinds and Noble. Noble bought out Hinds in 1917 and went into business with his friend Charles Barnes (“Barnes”), who had established his own printing book printing business.
Under this new partnership, the Company took on the Barnes and Noble name for the first time. The Company expanded significantly during the 1950s and 1960s, expanding its network with the launch of a retail store on Twenty-third Street in Manhattan, as well as stores close various college campuses across the US’s northeast. However, John Barnes, the then patriarch of the Bares family, died in 1964, and the Company was sold to Amtel two years later.
Barnes and Noble began its second life in 1971, when it was acquired by its current Chairman Leonard Riggio (“Riggio”), who set about restructuring and reorganising the business. Under Riggio’s leadership the Company has established itself as the leading specialist bookseller in the US, operating a network of 640 stores nationwide. Riggio has also overseen the Company’s ventures into e-commerce and digital book sales, with the launch of its NOOK business. The Company was taken public in 1993, and continues to trade its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Barnes and Noble has a current market capitalisation of $801.73 million.
Business model of Barnes & Noble
Barnes and Noble serves a large consumer-focused customer base. The Company serves a broad demographic of general consumers, with its physical retail stores offering a broad range of products. This includes:
- Books, spanning all genres and catering to male and female readers of all ages, including students, professionals, and casual readers;
- Toys and games, for children and families; and
- DVDs, including movies and television shows across all genres and target demographics;
Barnes and Noble’s physical business exclusively serves customers across the US, while its NOOK operating segment serves a more international customer base through its digital sales channels.
Barnes and Noble provides value to its customers in the following ways:
- It broad catalogue of products, with the Company offering a broad range of products, including books across all genres, as well as DVDs, toys, games, and magazines, serving a wide spectrum of consumers;
- Its accessibility and presence, with the Company operating a wide-reaching network of physical retail outlets across the US, as well as digital channels, notably its NOOK e-reader platform;
- The atmosphere and design of its stores, with the Company providing a comfortable and inviting atmosphere with ample public space, a cafe that offers drinks and snacks, and public restrooms, with a view to establishing stores as a public meeting place; and
- Its pricing and discount strategy, with the Company offering various discounts and special promotions throughout the year.
Barnes and Noble operates a website at www.barnesandnoble.com, through which it provides information on its product catalogue, locations, and other products. The Company also operates digital channels, including an online store through which customers can purchase and arrange the delivery of physical books, as well as a fully digital platform under its NOOK brand. The NOOK platform offers a library of electronic books that can be purchased either online or via mobile devices and read both through dedicated NOOK devices and via NOOK apps for tablets and mobile phones running iOS and Android systems.
The majority of Barnes and Noble’s physical sales are made through its network of 640 retail stores across the US, through which the Company’s sales and customer service staff deal directly with customer. Barnes and Noble also operates its own distribution channels, including two distribution centres in Monroe Township, New Jersey and Reno, Nevada, with a combined capacity of 1,745,000 square feet.
Barnes and Noble provides many of its products to customers on a self-service basis. This includes its online store, which allows customers to purchase book and other products, organise deliveries, track orders, and manage customer accounts without interacting with members of the Company’s staff. The Company’s NOOK platform enables customers to make purchases on a self-service basis, browsing titles through mobile devices, tablets, and e-readers and making purchases directly, with books delivered automatically and instantly to the customer.
Barnes and Noble also operates a team of sales and customer service representatives who are able to provide a greater degree of personal car to customers through its network of physical outlets. These staff members work with customers in finding products and providing advice. The Company also provides ongoing support after sales have been made, offering a range of online resources such as FAQs, shipping and returns information, and help articles, and operating a customer support team which can contacted over the phone, by email or via a live chat service.
Additionally, Barnes and Noble interacts directly with its customers through its email newsletter and its social media accounts, including with Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Barnes and Noble operates principally as a bookseller. It operates a multi-channel distribution system, through two core operating segments: Barnes and Noble Retail, which comprises the operations of its physical book stores and cafes, including sales of books, DVDs, toys, and games; and NOOK, which comprises the Company’s digital business, specifically its sales of e-books, e-readers, and accessories.
The Company offers books across all genres and age ranges mass market paperbacks, children's books, textbooks and course-related materials, bargain books, magazines, gifts, cafe products and services, educational toys and games, and music and movies. The Company also offers textbook rental service.
Barnes and Noble works with a range of partners across its two operating segments, with a view to providing its customers with the best possible services. These partners include:
- Supplier and Vendor Partners, comprising suppliers of services, technology and resources, which support the Company’s core operations;
- Strategic and Alliance Partners, comprising a range of companies across multiple sectors, notably within the technology space, with which the Company shares resources and collaborates on joint projects;
- Affiliate and Marketing Partners, including partners under the Barnes and Noble Affiliate Program, that earn commissions in return for generating sales and traffic for the Company; and
- College Partners, comprising a range of universities and colleges, with which the Company collaborates in operating campus bookstores targeted at students.
Two of Barnes and Noble’s notable strategic partners are Starbucks, which provides all of the coffee products sold in Barnes and Noble cafes, and Samsung, with which the Company has a deal to develop co-branded electronic devices to market. Under its college partner program, Barnes and Noble works with leading US institutions such as Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University, and Georgia Tech.
Barnes and Noble’s key resources are its catalogue of products, its physical sales and distribution infrastructure, its digital platforms and technologies, its IT infrastructure, its partnerships, and its personnel.
Barnes and Noble owns a number of trademarks, patents, copyrights, and service marks which it considers to be material to its ongoing operations. Searches of records published by the US Patent and Trademark Office identified several patent applications filed under the name of Barnes and Noble, including applications entitled ‘User interface for navigating paginated digital content’, Shake-based functions on a computing device’ and ‘Move icon to reveal textual information’.
Barnes and Noble owns and leases a number of properties that are key to its operations. This includes its network of 640 retail stores and its distribution centres in New Jersey and Nevada.
Barnes and Noble incurs costs in relation to the acquisition of its stock – including for its cafes, the operation of its sales outlets and distribution channels, the maintenance of its digital platforms and IT infrastructure, the management of its partnerships, and the retention of its personnel.
In 2015 Barnes and Noble accrued sales and occupancy costs in the amount of $2.84 billion, and selling and administrative expenses totaling $1.18 billion. These expenses include advertising and marketing costs, as well as personnel costs related to the payment of salaries and benefits to the Company’s workforce of 28,000 full-time and part-time employees.
Barnes and Noble generates revenue through the sale of books and various other products – such as accessories, e-readers, and games – through its multiple channels, including its physical retail outlets and its online and mobile platform, as well as the sale of drinks and snacks through its cafes.
In 2015 Barnes and Noble recorded total sales in the amount of $4.16 billion, down slightly on the $4.30 billion recorded by the Company in annual sales the previous year. The vast majority of the Company sales were attributed to its Barnes and Noble Retail segment, which individually recorded annual sales totalling $4.03 billion. Remaining sales were made up by the Company’s NOOK segment.
info: Riggio has been Chairman and principal stockholder of Barnes and Noble since acquiring the Company. He has held numerous senior leadership positions at the Company, including a long spell as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer from 1986 to 2002. Riggio has also been a principal beneficial owner of MBS Textbook Exchange, one of the largest wholesalers of college textbooks in the US, since 1985. He is also a former director of video game retailer Gamestop Corp.
info: Allen (“Lindstrom“) was appointed Chief Financial Officer at Barnes and Noble in 2013. He moved to this role from his former position as Vice President and Corporate Controller, which he had held since joining the Company in 2007. Lindstrom also served previously as Interim Chief Financial Officer between 2011 and 2012. Prior to joining Barnes and Noble, Lindstrom was Chief Financial Officer at Liberty Travel from 2002. From 2000 to April 2002, he served as Financial Controller at The Museum Company, before which he held various positions at Toys “R” Us from February 1993 to April 2000. Lindstrom began his career as a Certified Public Accountant.
info: William (“Wood”) has served as Chief Information Officer at Barnes and Noble since joining the Company in 2015. Wood has worked within the retail sector for many years. Prior to joining Barnes and Noble, he served as Chief Information Officer at EZCORP, where he is credited with transforming the company’s IT systems. Before joining EZCORP, Wood held a number high-level IT roles at retail companies, including spells at Bass Pro Shops, Brookstone, and Dollar General. Wood holds a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Vanderbilt University.
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