Oct 8, 2019

Can UK bookseller James Daunt revive Barnes & Noble?

James Daunt, credited with a turnaround at Britain's biggest book chain, Waterstones, is plotting a similar strategy to address the troubles at America's Barnes & Noble. The 55-year-old, tall, slim and soft-spoken, has almost 30 years of bookselling in the UK behind him, first at Daunt Books, the small chain of upmarket shops he founded in Marylebone in 1990 and then at Waterstones, which he took over as chief executive in 2011 as it risked sinking into administration. Where Mr Daunt sees similarities between Waterstones and Barnes & Noble, analysts warn of differences. Barnes & Noble shops are often found in suburban malls, where they occupy huge, 26,000-square-foot spaces - a challenge for any retailer these days, let alone a bookshop. Oren Teicher, chief executive of the American Booksellers Association, says the US has relatively few bookstores compared to Europe and the UK, suggesting there is room for Barnes & Noble to succeed - especially given the growth local shops have seen in recent years.

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