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Barnes & Noble Acquires Tattered Cover Bookstore

by | Jun 20, 2024 | News

Barnes & Noble is to buy Denver’s Tattered Cover, one of the world’s most famous independent bookstores.  According to news site Denverite, the deal – for $1.83m– will see Barnes & Noble retain the famous name on Tattered Cover four shops.

 

The deal is being concluded with Tattered Cover’s owners, Bended Page and has yet to be approved by the US Bankruptcy Court.  The bookseller has had a chequered few years; Tattered Cover filed for bankruptcy last October, closing three of its seven stores and letting go about a quarter of its 103 employees.  Successive rescue packages and changes of management failed to put the retailer back on track.  Now US publishers will be relieved at Barnes & Noble’s intervention.

 

Tattered Cover was founded in 1971 and, under the longtime leadership of the late Joyce Meskis, was one of the premier independent bookstores in the world, an inspiration for many booksellers, and an effective defender of free speech and the First Amendment.  Since opening in 1971, Tattered Cover has long prided itself on its independent spirit. Its second owner, Joyce Meskis, made a name for the store when she brought two lawsuits to the Colorado Supreme Court in 1984 and 2002. The first challenged a law that criminalized displaying sexually explicit material in shops, while the second challenged a policy that allowed the federal government to monitor which books shoppers bought.

 

Shelf Awareness observed: ‘Tattered Cover pioneered or perfected many staples of independent bookselling, including having cafes, encouraging customers to sit and read, offering an extensive range of author events and other programming, and seeking to make the stores community centers. Meskis also emphasized staff training, sent employees to booksellers schools, encouraged them to be involved in book world organizations, and treated staff with respect and openness.’

 

If the deal goes ahead, it will re-affirm Barnes & Noble’s CEO James Daunt’s position as the preeminent bookseller in the western world.  It will also affirm the importance of New York hedge fund Elliott Group to the global book industry.  Elliot Group owns Barnes & Noble and Waterstones.  Daunt now runs 600-odd Barnes & Noble stores, plus 300-odd Waterstone stores, nine Daunt bookshop, 7 Foyles and three other individually named UK indies.  The Tattered Cover deal only adds another four in number, but its historic importance should be noted.

 

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