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 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, BN.com, and publishing capabilities. In 2009, the Company entered the eBook market 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 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.   

At present, Barnes & Noble serves 627 communities in all 50 states, and remains the #1 book retailer in the United States.