Leonard Riggio – Business Bio Summary

October 29, 2018 106 views

Image of a projector displaying images related to Leonard Riggio

Leonard Riggio is one of the owners of Barnes and Noble, one of the largest specialty booksellers in the United States. At this time, there are 840 Barnes and Noble branches all over the United States.

Leonard Riggio – From Book Lover to Mega Book Seller

Leonard Riggio began his career working at the bookstore at New York University. After a while, he put up his own bookstore called the Student Book Exchange catering to college students and eventually bought Barnes and Noble, which was engaged primarily in selling textbooks.

After this purchase in 1971, he started running Barnes and Noble and continued acquiring more bookstores over the years. If you remember, bookstores like B. Dalton and Doubleday eventually died out and were replaced by Barnes and Nobles after Leonard Riggio acquired them.

He also conceptualized and executed the idea of a megastore for books, which also included an in-house coffee shop to encourage people to stay and browse. Leonard Riggio also placed many areas and alcoves where people could linger and read the books that they were selling at Barnes and Noble.

Many people thought his idea was preposterous as this would mean people would never buy the books that they were selling, but this actually encouraged better sales for the company.

Leonard Riggio saw the immediate potential of online bookselling and established his own dotcom business to compete directly with Amazon. In addition, this business leader also set up other kinds of retail businesses such as Gamestop and Babbage’s, Etc.

He also held positions as the owner of MBS Textbook Exchange, which engages in selling textbooks wholesale. These days, any Barnes and Noble branch wield tremendous power in the publishing industry as publishers are willing to pay for the placement of their books in the front tables since these are the books that people are most likely to notice and snatch up.

Although this is not a new practice, Leonard Riggio was able to see the potential in a move such as this since this has been a normal practice in supermarkets for quite some time. Without doubt, Barnes and Noble have reached out to book lovers and to publishers alike thanks to the leadership of Leonard Riggio.

The Leonard Riggio Quick Bio Full name:  Leonard Riggio

Birth Date: 1940

Birthplace:  New York

Company: Barnes and Noble

Industry: Retail

Key Success Traits: passionate, open-minded and entrepreneurial


The Dia Beacon Art Museum and New York University enjoy generous donations from Leonard Riggio as part of his humanitarian and charity work.