Who founded Barnes & Noble? – News 24

The beloved Barnes & Noble bookseller is recognized across the country, with the largest number of outlets in the United States.

Since 1873, Barnes & Noble continues to serve more than 600 communities in all 50 states.

Barnes & Noble operates 614 stores across the country.Credit: Alamy

Who founded Barnes & Noble?

Barnes & Noble began when Charles M. Barnes started a book business from his home in Wheaton, Illinois in 1973.

In 1886, a man named Gilbert Clifford Noble was hired to work as a clerk at a newly established bookstore named Arthur Hinds & Company in New York City.

This bookstore became known as Hinds & Noble.

In 1917 Noble bought Hinds and joined forces with William Barnes, son of his old friend Charles Barnes.

The store’s name was soon changed to Barnes & Noble.

William Barnes divested his share of his father’s business shortly before partnering with Noble.

His father’s business would become the Follett Corporation, the educational bookstore.

In 1930, Noble sold his share of the business to William Barnes’s son, John Wilcox Barnes.

Noble died in 1936, at the age of 72.

In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, what would later become the flagship Barnes & Noble store was opened on Fifth Avenue at 18th Street in New York City.

In 1940, the store was one of the first companies to introduce Muzak and underwent a major renovation the following year.

During this decade, the company opened stores in Brooklyn and Chicago.

William Barnes died in 1945, aged 78, with his son John Wilcox Barnes assuming full control.

After John Barnes’s death in 1964, in 1971 bookseller Leonard Riggio acquired the trade name and flagship Barnes & Noble bookstore in Manhattan, merging it with his own successful bookstore business.

Within a few years, he had transformed the Barnes & Noble store on New York’s Fifth Avenue into “the world’s largest bookstore,” stocking 150,000 textbooks and trade titles.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Barnes & Noble made numerous acquisitions and added new bookstores across the country.

In 1987, the company made its largest acquisition, 797 retail bookstores, when it purchased B. Dalton Bookseller, making Barnes & Noble a national overnight retailer and the second largest bookstore in the United States.

Barnes & Noble became a publicly traded company in 1993 and continued to grow throughout the 1990s, adding an e-commerce website and publishing capabilities.

In August 2019, Barnes & Noble was acquired by Elliott Advisors (UK) Limited (“Elliott”) and taken private.

Elliott’s acquisition of Barnes & Noble follows the June 2018 acquisition of Waterstones, the UK’s largest retail bookstore.

As of 2020, the company operates 614 retail stores.

Vince Fernandez

"Professional food trailblazer. Devoted communicator. Friendly writer. Avid problem solver. Tv aficionado. Lifelong social media fanatic."

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