How Barnes & Noble went from villain to hero

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How Barnes & Noble went from villain to hero

Apr 15 2022

After years on the decline, Barnes & Noble’s sales are up, its costs are down — and the same people who for decades saw the superchain as a supervillain are celebrating its success.

In the past, the book-selling empire, with 600 outposts across all 50 states, was seen by many readers, writers and book lovers as strong-arming publishers and gobbling up independent stores in its quest for market share.

Today, virtually the entire publishing industry is rooting for Barnes & Noble — including most independent booksellers. Its unique role in the book ecosystem, where it helps readers discover new titles and publishers stay invested in physical stores, makes it an essential anchor in a world upended by online sales and a much larger player: Amazon.

“It would be a disaster if they went out of business,” said Jane Dystel, a literary agent with clients including Colleen Hoover, who has four books on this week’s New York Times best-seller list. “There’s a real fear that without this book chain, the print business would be way off.” ...

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