The number-one bookseller today was born in 1971. Barnes and Noble’s (B&N) founder and Chief Executive, Leonard Riggio, started out with a stagnant Manhattan book store. Today, it operates over 1,000 store-chains. The chain includes about 504 B&N superstores, 507 B. Dalton mall stores, and 300 university bookstores. The college bookstores are leased and they take a commission on the sales revenues. Regardless of the profits they make, they still have to pay the universities. One such university bookstore is located at (name of college). The students allege that the books are cheaper now that Barnes and Noble owns the college bookstore.
Mr. Riggio attended New York University (NYU) as an engineering student. To help pay college tuition he worked at the NYU bookstore, and the job sparked an interest that led him to buy the bookstore on the NYU campus in 1965. He owned nine college bookstores by 1971. When a stagnant New York City bookstore was up for sale, Mr. Riggio seized the opportunity and bought the store.
The bookstores are designed to give consumers a pleasant shopping experience. Mr. Riggio believes that shopping is a “social activity for consumers” because they do it to relax, meet other people, to see what is new, or to treat themselves with something new. Barnes and Noble is dedicated to their customers. The stores provide a relaxed and welcome environment.
Barnes and Noble stores usually are located in high traffic, upscale suburbs, to attract wealthy clientele. After all, they are the ones with money to splurge.
Last week, B&N opened its new (name of new superstore). The 25,000 square foot store employs 60 experienced booksellers. It has over 100,000 titles and access to more than a million books. When one walks in the store, you can smell the aroma of the baked goods and Starbuck’s coffee brewing. It is a comfortable setting. People of all ages can settle in a big cushy chair or at a table to browse through piles of books. If books are not of interest, one can listen to a large selection of CDs and cassettes, chat with a friend over a cup of cappuccino, or attend one of the store’s special events. The monthly schedules of events include poetry reading, singing, and special appearances by authors.
Children can enjoy the children’s department full of extraordinary characters of children’s books. It has two event areas for children; including (name of children’s area), story hour, puppet shows, and children’s projects.
It is a wonder that the news that Barnes and Noble is buying Ingram Book Group has agitated independent bookstores. In the article “Barnes and Noble buys Ingram for $600 Million”, written by (name of reporter) for the (name of newspaper) on (date) states that the American Booksellers Association (ABA), is opposing the B&N’s vertical merger with Ingram. The ABA cited that the “deal would make independent bookstores dependent upon the largest competitor.” ABA is a nonprofit organization that represents independently owned bookstores.
ABA asked the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to look into the acquisition because it would give Barnes and Noble “major control over the book industry as Microsoft has over the computer business”. ABA contends that if B&N has control over the book enterprise, “it might eventually drive out the little guy and stifle competition”. The deal “threatens the viability of competition in the book industry, and limits the diversity and availability of books to customers.”
Ingram is America’s largest single wholesale book distributor, and the sale would mean that the two of the biggest companies in the book industry are merging. The wholesaler distributes trade books, audio books, periodicals, textbooks, and multimedia to bookstores, libraries, and specialty retailers. It has 11 distribution centers in the nation. John Ingram, Chairman of Ingram Book Group, will continue to serve as Chairman of Ingram. He has been elected as Vice-Chairman for Barnes and Noble’s Board of Directors.
Independent bookstores claim that the acquisition is a “body-blow for the independent bookselling community” because there is room for B&N to gain an unfair advantage over bookstores. They fear that the chain will receive books, especially bestsellers, before or instead of them. For instance, if there are a few copies of a best seller on the shelf and every book store needs them, who will get the books first? It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out who is going to get the books.
In the midst of all the negative criticism, B&N has promised that Ingram will continue to sell books to its competitors. The chain vows not to give B&N “preferential treatment or freeze out competitors, once the purchase is approved” by continuing to fill book orders at the time they are received. They are committed to continue business with Ingram’s current customers, including independent bookstores, specialty stores and libraries, in the U.S. and overseas. Barnes and Noble knows that Ingram depends on the competition for profit earnings.
Anti-trust laws do not permit a business to eliminate the competition by monopolizing a resource such as Ingram Book Group. It is doubtful, that after all the success of B&N, they will risk being sued if they try to monopolize the book industry.
The sale will cost Barnes and Noble $400 million in stock and $200 million in cash. The $400 million in stock will make Ingram the second largest shareholder, with Mr. Riggio owning the majority of the company’s stock.
The news of the deal sent B&N’s shares climbing from $30.87 to $34.25 on the New York Stock Exchange. Investors have confidence that the already successful company will increase its earnings, efficiency and clout within the book industry. On the other side, B&N’s biggest competitor, Amazon, saw their stocks fall a total of $3.94.
In conclusion, the purchase of Ingram Book Group by Barnes and Noble will allow the latter to gain profits from their rivals. Currently, Barnes and Noble is finalizing the acquisition of Ingram. Mr.Riggio is a prime example of an individual that is now a national icon after being just a small time businessman. His fulfilled dream of providing a prominent book supply to students and the general public, along with a comfortable social atmosphere, has made him a true success and personal role model.