January 13, 2017

Barnes & Nobles sold 1.6 million books via annual holiday drive


Len Riggio

Barnes & Noble may have seen a precipitous drop in sales over the holiday season, but at least one of their target numbers is up.

On Tuesday, the country’s largest bookstore chain announced that their 2016 Holiday Book Drive collected 1.6 million books, up 100,000 from last year’s drive. According to the company’s press release, “the donation was made possible through the generous support of Barnes & Noble customers, who purchased books for donation at Barnes & Noble bookstores nationwide between November 1, 2016, and January 1, 2017.”

The outpouring of donations was spurred by the enthusiasm of individual stores, who mobilized customers to participate. Stores like the Holyoke, MA, Barnes & Noble went so far as to form a partnership with the local organization Link to Libraries that will continue beyond the 2,500-book donation.

After predicting in September that foot traffic in the store would increase after the presidential election, Barnes & Noble executive chairman Len Riggio had to answer for a 9.1% decrease in sales during the nine-week period ending December 31st, compared to the same period in 2015. Was he wrong to blame Trump for the decline, then? After all, couldn’t we also read the goodwill displayed by customers who were buying books as a sign of the times? Plus their donations, purchased at Barnes & Noble, apparently kept the retailer from posting even larger losses.



Kait Howard was a publicist at Melville House.