Publishers find readers, buyers at Barnes and Noble

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PHOENIX - A typical Barnes and Noble store stocks more than 2,500 magazines. Across the country it sells more than 5,000 titles.

CEO and vice chairman of the retail bookseller, Stephen Riggio, spoke to attendees at the American Magazine Conference on how the chain he leads is an enormous forum for publishers and advertisers.

"We have made our bookstore its own destination and community," Mr. Riggio said. "It has become a magazine hub and what makes that work is the range of titles that we carry."

With the effect of the Internet over the past 10 years, Barnes and Nobles has seen a decrease in the sale of reference and information-only books. Publishers, however, have recognized the online shift.

"Books in PDA type devices are here to stay this time, but there has yet to become a portable electronic reading device that is as good as a book," Mr. Riggio said.

The typical Barnes and Noble customer is between the ages of 35 and 60 and is an affluent retail consumer who is interested in a large range of products. Mr. Riggio recognizes that these people are the largest growing portion of the population.

"There has been this explosive growth in technology where people are reading while also playing games and surfing the Internet, just all at the same time," he said.

Online Barnes and Noble customers are reported to spend twice as much as retail consumers, yet those shoppers spend an average of an hour inside the store at a time.

The retailer also provides in-store advertising for new magazines. It most recently had a display for Everyday With Rachel Ray.

"We call our magazine displays bus stops, because they are in front of eight to ten million people each week in front of the highest bulk of traffic," Mr. Riggio said.

Barnes and Nobles also provides publishers with daily data on how the magazine is fairing in stores.

"We have the most eclectic and hungry customers," Mr. Riggio said. "They are interested in news, fashion, entertainment, so if we could give a private space in our stores, it would be to magazines."

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