Barnes and Noble Education

by Danielle Green

Barnes and Noble Education is the scholastic arm of the bookseller. This branch of the company partners with elementary, middle, and high schools as well as colleges and universities to sell textbooks and merchandise emblazoned with school emblem and insignia. This branch of the company owns and operates many of the bookstores you see on college campuses nationwide. Textbooks at the retailer may be purchased or rented. Barnes and Noble Education also partners with schools to organize bookfairs and the like. Because many educational institutions partner with this branch of the company, Barnes and Noble Education is granted a position of authority and legitimacy — even making its way into course syllabi. They are perceived as the voice of reading, and strategically position themselves as the link between retail and scholarship. These are key design principles that enable success and influence in the marketplace according to Richard Cialdini. For example, many professors at the university conveniently link their course syllabi to platforms owned by Barnes and Noble Education like the Harvard Coop, although technically, such books can be obtained elsewhere. Barnes and Noble remains the largest specialty retailer of its kind in the country. This branch of the company is often perceived as not a platform, but the platform for textbooks and required materials. The retailer is often granted access to course syllabi, orders the books on behalf of the instructor, and sells them in sections of the store organized by subject and course title. I would argue that Barnes and Noble Education is the closest thing an educational institution could have as an explicit brand partnership, yet still be perceived as socially conscious and legitimate.

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