B&N Goes Back to Its Roots, Puts First Pages of Classic Books on Its Shopping Bags

Barnes & Noble has been many things over the years, including publisher, bookseller, failed tech startup, and toy store, and with their latest change B&N is getting back to its roots.

America’s last major bookstore chain recently unveiled its new shopping bags. In place of the cheap and forgettable plastic bags used by many stores, B&N has decided to adopt themed shopping bags. Developed by the design firm Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, the bags feature the first page of famous classic novels, along with illustrations inspired by the books.

How would you like a little Cervantes with your Twilight?
How would you like a little Cervantes with your Harry Potter?

The bags feature a variety of classic novels, including Don Quixote, Wizard of Oz, and Alice in Wonderland (as well as what looks to be a reference to Romeo and Juliet), and they are designed to both catch the eye and act as a reminder of Barnes & Noble’s beginnings as a bookseller.

“The bag serves as advertisement and reminder of the bookstore and thus is an essential part of the brand’s communications,” said Sagi Haviv of Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, in a statement to Creativity Online. “However, this new shopping bag series does more than promote the brand itself; it reflects the love of books and itself provides a book experience — you can even start reading them on the way home.”

Barnes & Noble has had 100 million bags made, and will distribute them in its 600 stores across the US starting this month.

I’m not usually one to shop in a B&N store (there aren’t any within a reasonable driving distance). But I’m tempted to make the trip just so I can buy something and get one of these bags, aren’t you?

Creativity Online via Book Patrol

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. 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.


  1. DaveMich23 March, 2015

    If B&N is so far away it’s probably simpler to get one off ebay. 🙂

    1. Nate Hoffelder23 March, 2015

      It’s a half hour drive each way. That’s a little much.

  2. Reader24 March, 2015

    A while back B&N had a Nancy Drew themed shopping bag. I bought one for a friend who is a Nancy Drew fan- she has a complete, or nearly complete collection of Nancy Drew books saved from childhood.

  3. Kate24 March, 2015

    Are these paper or plastic, one time use bags, or are they reusable?

    1. Nate Hoffelder24 March, 2015

      I think they’re paper. They’d have to be pretty solid plastic bags to stand up like that.

      1. They’ve also been pushing their cloth totes lately. I don’t recall what was on the front.

  4. puzzled24 March, 2015

    One of the advantages for a book store to use plastic bags is that your books don’t get wet when outside in the rain.

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