Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, announced it has signed a lease agreement to open a new Barnes & Noble bookstore in Mishawaka, Indiana. The bookstore, expected to open in spring 2009, will be located in the University Park Mall at 6501 North Grape Road. The day prior to the opening of the new store, the existing Barnes & Noble in at 4601 Grape Road in Mishawaka will close. The new store will stock close to 200,000 book, music, DVD and magazine titles and include a cafe serving Starbucks coffee. Barnes & Noble’s bookselling innovations have established it as America’s top bookseller brand. For the fourth year in a row, the EquiTrend(R) Brand Study by Harris Interactive(R) named Barnes & Noble bookstores number one in overall brand equity, which is based on a brand’s strength in familiarity, quality and purchase intent. The new store will feature:
— The Barnes & Noble Membership Program. Designed for Barnes & Noble’s best customers, this program gives Members 40% off hardcover fiction and nonfiction bestsellers, 20% off all other adult hardcover books, and 10% off virtually everything else in Barnes & Noble stores and online at Barnes & Noble.com. The annual fee is $25.
– Rapid special-order service. Can’t find it on the shelf? Barnes & Noble’s massive warehouse inventory is available in real-time, enabling its booksellers to order and confirm the availability of over one million titles at the click of a button.
— Large-scale children’s departments. Bigger than most typical bookstores and stocking over 15,000 titles in an easy-to-browse environment, “Barnes & Noble Jr.” departments are designed to appeal to children, parents, teachers and librarians. Children’s story hours will be held three times a week.
— Advanced technology movie, audiobook and music-previewing system. The store will feature RedDotNet, the most advanced listening and previewing technology. RedDotNet enables customers to preview select DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, audiobooks, or CDs in the store, sampling a title by simply passing it under a scanner. Connected to the company’s online electronic catalog, the store’s listening stations make “browsing with your ears” a reality. Thanks to the latest technology, RedDotNet stations also allow customers to view a three-minute clip of more than 7,000 DVDs. Additional music titles are available for special order.
— Giant Newsstand. The store’s newsstand stocks over 2,000 titles, including hundreds of hard-to-find specialty magazines, out-of-town and even foreign newspapers.
— Wi-Fi Service. AT&T Wi-Fi(SM) service allows customers to use their laptop computers and personal digital assistants anywhere in the store or cafe to communicate online, surf the Internet and connect to corporate networks at speeds 50 to 100 times as fast as a dial-up connection. A single two-hour session costs $3.95, and an annual membership with unlimited access to Barnes & Noble and more than 10,700 AT&T Wi-Fi hot spots is also available.
— Community Center. The Barnes & Noble store will serve as a local community center, hosting a number of community events throughout the year. They will include author readings and discussions, book clubs, and programs with local literary and cultural organizations. The store will also hold bookfairs, partnering with local schools and other community institutions.