Book lovers rejoice. Barnes & Noble announced last Thursday that the book giant is slated to arrive in Bridgehampton Commons by Summer 2023. The new store will replace Collette and Collette Annex in the shopping center right off Highway 27, just outside Bridgehampton Village. While the Hamptons are home to many locally owned and operated bookstores, Barnes & Noble offers buyers a different catalog and experience.
In a press release from Barnes & Noble’s CEO, James Daunt said, “We are very happy to be bringing a bookstore to Bridgehampton, a community we have wanted to be a part of for many, many years.”
“We do so at a time when there is a renaissance in reading underway, with bookstores bursting with energy. It is such an optimistic time for booksellers, and none more so than at Barnes & Noble where we are opening new bookstores of all sizes. Each is run by a team of local booksellers who curate their own stores. It is creating some wonderful new bookstores and we are very excited to start this work next year in Bridgehampton.“
Since taking the helm at Barnes & Noble, Daunt has moved to allow local stores to determine their selection. In an interview with Publishers Weekly, Daunt said, “B&N behave[s] like a true bookseller and indeed in the manner of the best independent booksellers.” Hopefully, this will translate into promoting the many local authors and publishers focused on the Hamptons.
After almost 15 years with no new Barnes & Noble stores opening on Long Island, the company appears to have focused attention on the East End. Following last year’s new store in Riverhead, the Bridgehampton location is the company’s first foray on the South Fork and is part of a broader expansion strategy shown in recent years.
Last year’s swath of new store openings highlighted a recent shift in business strategy for Barnes & Noble. Between 2010 and 2019, only 15 locations were opened, while in 2022 alone the company opened its doors to 16 new locations. The push to expand into new spaces is expected to continue in 2023 with another 30 stores expected to launch.
Despite B&N’s large market share and its attempts to offer bespoke, locally curated selections, Carolyn Brody, the owner of independent bookseller BookHampton in East Hampton, remains confident in her business “On the one hand, like James Daunt, I am all for creating more readers, putting great books in people’s hands, and celebrating books and authors. On the other hand, surviving as an independent bookstore on the East End is challenging. So it’s a bit anxious-making to have Barnes and Noble, with its considerable resources, move into this market.”
“That said, there’s room for all of us to thrive and I know we can depend on our community of readers for their continued support,” Carolyn added.