Barnes & Noble Has Made Its Return To Chicago, And It Will Open More Stores In The Area

The international book retailer celebrated its grand opening at 651 W. Diversey Parkway in Lincoln Park on May 29th. It’s the first standalone Barnes & Noble bookstore to open in the city since the Webster Place location closed in March 2023, after 26 years in business. 

Even though some local book aficionados prefer smaller independent bookstores, Barnes&Noble coming to the neighborhood might be a good omen, since, last year, Lakeview neighbors mourned the death of bookstore owner John Chandler and the loss of his beloved “organized chaos” of a store, Bookman’s Corner, 2959 N. Clark St.

The new Barnes & Noble location is one of four to open in the Chicago area this year.

The other city location will open in Wicker Park’s landmark Noel State Bank, 1601 N. Milwaukee Ave. It’s slated to open in July, according to the Barnes & Noble website.

Upcoming events in the newly opened store

If you live near the newly opened store and haven’t visited it yet, you might want to time your visit in order to be part of some of the upcoming events they are announcing. 

Local favorite Michael Witwer will be in the store on June 8th, between 12-3 pm, to sign copies of his books and answer questions. You can purchase copies of all of Michael’s books before or the day of the event.
Sunday, June 9th, those who want to meet Cynthia Pelayo have a reason to come purchase some books! Cynthia will be in store signing copies of her latest book “Forgotten Sisters” as well as other books. You can purchase copies of her book in the store before or even on the day of the signing.
The next week, local author Jarrett Dapier will be in store on Saturday, June 15th to sign copies of his children’s book “Mr. Watson’s Chickens”. Join him and the staff from 12-3pm to get your copy signed by Jarrett. You can purchase Jarrett’s book in store the day of the event!
Sunday, June 16th, is reserved for local author Jessamine Chan! Jessamine will be in store signing copies of her book “The School for Good Mothers”. Copies of the book will be available for purchase the day of the event as well as throughout the store’s opening month.

Next week, another store will open in the Chicago area

The next store to open in the Chicago area will be its new Oswego bookstore, with a grand opening announced on Wednesday June 12th. The new Barnes & Noble is located in the Prairie Market Shopping Center (2590 US Hwy 34, Oswego, IL 60543) in the space formerly occupied by DSW, next to Ulta, Kohl’s and Best Buy.

The bookstore will officially open to the public at 9AM CDT on Wednesday the 12th with author Sherry Duskey Rinker cutting the ribbon and signing copies of her books. The new location showcases the highly lauded bookstore design seen in the most recent Barnes & Noble store openings, housing all the best books, toys, games and gifts that customers have come to expect from the nation’s premier bookseller. The bookstore will also house an updated B&N Café.
“It’s been 17 years since we’ve opened a Barnes & Noble near Kendall County — and now Oswego is one of two stores in Illinois, and one of four nationwide, to open its doors on June 12th,” said James Daunt, CEO, Barnes & Noble. “It’s an exciting endeavor to expand the footprint of physical bookstores, with no plans of slowing down anytime soon. We look forward to welcoming readers to our new Oswego location just in time for the summer season.”
Barnes & Noble is enjoying a period of tremendous growth as the strategy to hand control of each bookstore to its local booksellers has proven so successful. The bookseller is experiencing exceptionally strong sales in its existing stores and has been opening many new stores after more than 15 years of declining store numbers. In 2023, Barnes & Noble opened more new bookstores in a single year than it had in the whole decade from 2009 to 2019. The bookseller expects to open over 50 new bookstores in 2024.

About Barnes & Noble: how things have started and evolved

In 1971, bookseller Leonard Riggio acquired the Barnes & Noble trade name and flagship bookstore in Manhattan, merging it with his own thriving bookselling business. Within a few years, he had grown the Barnes & Noble Fifth Avenue store in New York City into “The World’s Largest Bookstore,” with 150,000 textbook and trade titles.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the Company made numerous acquisitions, adding new bookstores throughout the country. In 1987, the Company made its largest acquisition &ndash 797 retail bookstores &ndash when it purchased B. Dalton Bookseller, making the Company a nationwide retailer overnight and the second-largest bookseller in America. The Company also acquired Doubleday Book Shops, rights to the Scribner’s bookstore trade name, and BookStop. In the early 1990s, Mr. Riggio came up with the concept of the “superstore,” which helped revolutionize bookselling by combining a vast and deep selection of book titles with an experienced bookselling staff as well as a warm, comfortable and spacious atmosphere. The stores offered a comprehensive inventory of books, music, educational toys and games and gifts.

Barnes & Noble became a publicly traded company in 1993, and continued to grow throughout the 1990s, adding an e-commerce website, in May 1997, and publishing capabilities. In 2001, the Company purchased, a leading study aids website, and in 2003, Sterling Publishing, which had been operating for more than half a century and had a deep library of titles in print. In 2009, the Company entered the eBook market with its acquisition of Fictionwise and launched its NOOK® brand of e-Reading products, which provide a fun, easy-to-use and immersive digital reading experience. Over the past several years, the Company has introduced several devices in the tablet and e-Reader categories. In 2011, the Company added the Borders and Waldenbooks brands into its family.

In 2016, Barnes & Noble began introducing new prototype stores in select markets across the country, featuring a contemporary aesthetic with books at the center, expanded food and beverage offerings, and comfortable seating for a welcoming customer experience.

In August of 2019, Barnes & Noble was acquired by Elliott Advisors (UK ) Limited (“Elliott”) and taken private. Elliott’s acquisition of Barnes & Noble followed its June 2018 acquisition of Waterstones, the largest retail bookseller in the United Kingdom. James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones, was appointed CEO of Barnes & Noble. Mr. Daunt has nearly 30 years of experience in bookselling. In 1990, after an early career as an investment banker, he opened his own bookstore in London, called Daunt Books. Daunt Books now has nine locations, mainly in London.

At present, Barnes & Noble serves over 600 communities in all 50 states and remains the #1 book retailer in the United States.

Cool Things Chicago