B&N College Plans to Add 300 Bookstores to Their Roster

B&N'sB&N College Plans to Add 300 Bookstores to Their Roster Barnes & Noble Bookstore ebook efforts may have fizzled, and their retail chain may be withering, but the college bookstore division has high hopes for the future.

The bookseller is working to grow their presence on college campuses. With 696 bookstores, Barnes & Noble College is the second largest operator of college bookstores, and they plan to become the largest in the near future. Max Roberts, chief executive of B&N College,told Reuters that the retailer plans to have about 1,000 locations within five years.

B&N College is planning to convince more college to sign contracts for B&N College to run their bookstores, and the bookstore operator is also planning to poach stores from Follett. This distributor and wholesaler currently operates around 940 college bookstores under contract.

While this might appear optimistic, B&N College has reportedly added 50 stores in the past couple years. They have a strategy that is working, and a large number of college bookstores to try it on.  Around 1,500 colleges still operate their bookstore independently, including the University of Washington (the school where Amazon poached customers back in January).

In addition to signing new contracts, B&N College is also expanding the footprint of existing stores to offer more services. "We want to make our stores the center of the community, and appeal to other consumers, not just students," said Roberts.

B&N College Plans to Add 300 Bookstores to Their Roster Barnes & Noble Bookstore

For example, last summer B&N College opened a new and larger bookstore at the Mananas campus of Northern Virginia Community College. At 3,000 square feet, the new shop was about 3 times the size of the old location.

"The biggest difference is the addition of a café and a marketplace with an expanded selection of convenience items, such as more Pepsi coolers, a freezer for frozen goods, and a reach-in cooler for sandwiches and salads," said Barnes & Noble General Manager Jack Smith. "There’s also more room for general merchandise such as school supplies and electronics."

B&N College is also experimenting with a superstore concept.The B&N operated bookstore at Rutgers University, for example, is around 30,000 square feet in size, putting it far closer to the retail stores B&N operates in malls and shopping centers. Barnes & Noble College thinks they will eventually be operating 75 college superstores, compared to 35 now.

B&N's college store division may not get the same press attention as the retail chain, but it is arguably the healthiest part of Barnes & Noble. In a time when bookselling is struggling to survive, B&N College has shown a slight but consistent positive growth over the past few years.

Compared to any retail bookstore chain, B&N College is the picture of health.

Reuters

images by bclinesmithkeone

 

 

 

 

 

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

3 Comments

  1. […] People forget about this part of B & N’s business. […]

    Reply
  2. […] What's more, the reports of declining sales are borne out by B&N's own annual reports. The retailer reported that revenues for its college bookstore division declined in two of the last 3 fiscal years (2012, 2013, 2014). This, while B&N was signing new contracts to operate additional stores. […]

    Reply
  3. […] The retailer reported that revenues for its college bookstore division declined in two of the last 3 fiscal years (2012, 2013, 2014). This, while B&N was signing new contracts to operate additional stores. […]

    Reply

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