Independent bookstores once considered Barnes & Noble the enemy, but its CEO loves small bookstores so much, he owns 9 of his own

The interior of Daunt Books in Marylebone, London.

Barnes & Noble’s CEO owns nine independent bookstores scattered throughout London. 
But back in the 1990s, the book retailer was considered the enemy of small bookstores everywhere.
That was before Barnes & Noble went into decline — these days, it’s in the midst of a revamp.

In the 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail,” independent bookstore owner Kathleen Kelly, played by Meg Ryan, describes Fox Books, a clear stand-in for Barnes & Noble, as “theme-park, multi-level, homogenize-the-world Mochaccinoland.”

The movie pitted shops like Kelly’s, a cozy neighborhood bookstore handed down from her mother, against national chains of book superstores, which were thought to be stealing customers from independent shops and putting those stores out of business. Chains like Barnes & Noble were the enemy of anyone who truly loved books, according to the film.

Fast-forward more than two decades, and Barnes & Noble has had a tumultuous rise and fall of its own, culminating in new ownership and a new CEO — who happens to be a small-bookstore owner himself. 

“I believe that independent bookstores can thrive. I’ve backed that with my own money because I own nine of them,” James Daunt, Barnes & Noble’s CEO since 2019, said in an interview published by the National Retail Federation. 

Daunt was referring to Daunt Books, a small chain of bookstores scattered throughout London and the surrounding region. Daunt’s first shop, located in London’s Marylebone district, opened in 1990 and is known for its airy, sky-lit space and books arranged by country, not author or title. 

Daunt Books is still owned by Daunt today, despite his ascent through the ranks of corporate bookselling. He was named managing director of UK-based book retailer Waterstones in 2011 and helped …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

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