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10 Largest Bookstores In The United States

By Kristin Kizer
Apr. 4, 2023

Largest Bookstores Research Summary

  • The largest bookstore in the U.S. is Amazon, with an annual revenue of $469.8 billion.

  • As of 2023, the market size of the U.S. bookstore industry is $9.7 billion.

  • Romance is the most popular book genre in the U.S. with over 32 million copies sold in this cateogry in 2022.

  • The U.S. bookstore industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 1.9% from 2022 to 2030.

Once upon a time, bookstores were in every town. There were the mom and pops, and then there were the giants. Each offered a wealth of mystery, romance, drama, history, entertainment, education, and a whole lot more.

Then, the internet came along and many of those stores failed and folded, leaving people without their favorite haunts to hang out in.

But, if you ask the right people, they’ll tell you that the bookstore never really went away. While mom and pops had a hard time of it and several big boxes struggled as well, there are a few bookstores that have thrived.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bookstores are holding onto their loyal base of avid readers. People who prefer to peruse the stacks in person, who love the feel of a book in their hands, the smell of the pages, the crack of a spine.

  • These big bookstores allowed people to find new book discoveries and book clubs and helping people fall back in love with reading.

  • Books aren’t the only things bookstores sell. Many sell other products in addition to books.

10 largest bookstore in the united states.

10 Largest Bookstores In America

To determine the largest bookstores, we’ve considered a combination of factors. Sales and income are obviously key factors, and it needs to be noted that internet sales by brick-and-mortar companies are included in this overview.

Bookstores are often selling things other than books and these products often pertain to print or the written word, but music has also become a big-ticket item for bookstores. They also have branched out from only new book sales into used book sales.

  1. Amazon

    Annual Revenue: $469.8 billion

    4601 26th Avenue NE
    Seattle, WA 98105

    If we’re going to talk about online book sales, then it’s important to mention the giant in the room. Amazon is the largest book retailer in the world with a catalog that includes more than 33 million titles, and they will ship them just about anywhere.

    But it’s the actual stores that interest us. This internet giant can be blamed for changing the landscape of booksellers and almost causing the collapse of the physical bookshop.

    However, they then turned around and opened their own brick-and-mortar stores. They now have actual, physical stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, where they opened their first store.

  2. Find Amazon Jobs Near Me

  3. Barnes & Noble

    Annual Revenue: $3.6 billion

    33 East 17th Street
    New York, NY 10003

    At one point in time, Barnes & Noble boasted that they had the biggest bookshop in the world. Their New York store at 105 Fifth Avenue was 154,250 square feet and had 12.87 miles of shelves packed with shiny new books ready for sale.

    This location was the bookstore company’s flagship, but it didn’t last. It closed in January 2014, effectively taking the title from Barnes & Noble. The company has recovered and now claims to be the internet’s largest bookstore.

    Are they officially the largest? There’s no definitive answer on that one but they do have more than one million titles in their ebook catalog.

    Trying to keep up with the competition, Barnes & Noble has expanded its in-store offerings to include a wide array of products featuring mainly videos, kids’ toys and products, games, and other printed materials. They have a huge online store as well as large offerings in their brick-and-mortar bookshops.

  4. Find Barnes & Noble Jobs Near Me

  5. The Hudson Group

    Annual Revenue: $1.4 billion

    1 Meadowlands Plaza
    East Rutherford, NJ 07073

    If you’ve ever popped into a Hudson News store in an airport and picked up a paperback for the flight, you’re visiting one of the largest bookstores in the United States (even though the store you visited probably was extremely small). The company operates more than 970 stores throughout the country.

    Their story began with the founding in 1918, the company was then incorporated in 1926, and since 2008, they’ve been owned by Dunfry AG, of Basel, Switzerland.

    While books are a large part of their business, they also operate travel essentials and convenience stores, duty-free stores, electronics stores, themed stores, and food and beverage operations.

  6. Find The Hudson Group Jobs Near Me

  7. Books-A-Million

    Annual Revenue: $474.1 million

    402 Industrial Ln.
    Birmingham, AL 35211

    BAM to its devotees, Books-A-Million began as a street corner newsstand in 1917. With its base still in Florence, Alabama, this company is a staple in the southeastern United States.

    The stores are on the larger side, from 4,000 to 30,000 square feet. They sell much more than books now with a good selection of gifts, toys, technology, and even a restaurant offering with their Joe Muggs® Café.

    The company has not just grown from selling books and newspapers; it currently boasts that it is the second-largest book retailer in the nation.

    Their book wholesale and distribution subsidiary, American Wholesale Book Company, and their e-commerce business are largely responsible for their vast success.

  8. Find Books-A-Million Jobs Near Me

  9. Half Price Books

    Annual Revenue: $255.6 million

    HPB Headquarters
    6803 E. Northwest Hwy.
    Dallas, TX 75231

    Let’s talk about a true giant; Half Price Books is America’s largest family-owned bookstore. Since 1972, this company has been committed to books, literacy, and the local communities where their stores are housed.

    Their start is as sweet as some of the stories they sell. Two book-loving friends opened a used book shop in an old laundromat with no idea of the appeal their “We Buy Books” ads would inspire.

    Today, they have more than 120 stores across the states and a significant web presence. They specialize in creating a homey feel in their stores that smacks of the classic mom-and-pop stores. And they stick by their original concept of giving to the community and promoting literacy.

  10. United Methodist Publishing House

    Annual Revenue: $160 million

    2222 Rosa L Parks Blvd
    Nashville, TN 37228

    Another religious bookseller is Cokesbury. They consider themselves the retail and customer service arm of The United Methodist Publishing House.

    Offering more than 300,000 unique products that include books and other written materials, they claim to also reach a broad ecumenical audience across the globe.

  11. Find United Methodist Publishing House Jobs Near Me

  12. Deseret Book Company

    Annual Revenue: $59 million

    55 N. 300 W
    Salt Lake City, UT 84101

    Deseret Book Company is owned by a holding company that is controlled by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The stores began in 1919 when two booksellers, both of whom can trace their roots to the same man, merged.

    Later, in 2004, Deseret Book acquired Excel Entertainment Group, known for producing LDS cinema productions and making some records. The company has a large offering, but everything they produce has a religious aspect to it.

  13. Find Deseret Book Jobs Near Me

  14. Bookmans

    Annual Revenue: $50.7 million

    Bookmans Entertainment Exchange Headquarters
    3330 E. Speedway Blvd.
    Tucson, AZ 85716

    With a buy, sell, trade mentality, Bookmans has found a way to survive in the world of book retail. But they’re dealing in much more than books these days.

    In fact, they list these items as ones they buy and then resell: books, magazines, comics, music, movies, video games, musical instruments, electronics, housewares, and more.

    Bookmans got its start in 1976 when Bob Oldfather opened his first store in Tucson. Now, more than 40 years later, the store has become a chain with six buildings and a commitment to being an integral part of each community they reside in.

  15. Find Bookmans Jobs Near Me

  16. Powell’s Books

    Annual Revenue: $45 million

    1005 W. Burnside St.
    Portland, OR 97209

    It’s not just the national brands that get recognition for their sales and success. Powell’s Books states that it’s the world’s largest independent bookstore. If you don’t live in Oregon, you might not be familiar with this bookstore, but if you’ve ever visited, there’s a good chance you’re a big fan of this book-selling giant.

    Powell’s began in Chicago when college student Michael Powell opened the first store in 1970. His father Walter helped Michael and loved the business so much, he opened his own used bookstore in Portland, Oregon.

    Eventually, Michael moved back to Portland and closed down the Chicago location. Today there are three locations in Oregon, and it’s owned and run by the third generation of Powells.

  17. Find Powell’s Books Jobs Near Me

  18. Books Inc.

    Annual Revenue: $11 million

    1501 Vermont Street
    San Francisco, CA 94107

    Books, Inc. leaves the claims to be the biggest store or the biggest retailer to the others. Their claim to fame is that they’re the West’s oldest independent bookseller. Their history goes all the way back to 1851 and the gold rush days in California.

    Gold miner Anton Roman apparently struck it rich and left gold behind to focus on words. He opened his first bookstore in Shasta City, but that store has since burned, moved, been sold, and is non-existent today. What came from that store though was a 1946 franchise called Books Inc.

    Today Books Inc. has a respectable ten locations throughout California and is happy to hold its own in today’s economy.

The Future of Book Sales in the United States

While Americans still like to read, stats are showing that they’re reading less than they have in the past. This in combination with the proliferation of ebooks and book-buying online is a huge factor in the decline of the traditional bookstore.

Interestingly, as we saw many major bookstores like Borders, B. Dalton, Book World, and others collapse into bankruptcy in the last decade or two, there seems to be a shift. The New York Times recently wrote an article on how the small bookstore is becoming a trend again. People love authenticity and nostalgia.

Similarly, the American Booksellers Association has reported a rise in indie bookstore sales. This is great news for readers and people who love to support local companies.

But it looks like the superstores of the literary world may be endangered. They can continue adding products to their lineup but that just might not be enough.

Largest Bookstore FAQ

  1. What is the largest bookstore in the U.S.?

    The largest bookstore in the U.S. is Amazon. While books aren’t the only thing they sell, the company is still the largest book retailer in the world, followed by Barnes & Noble.

  2. Where is the biggest Barnes & Noble in the U.S.?

    The biggest Barnes & Noble in the U.S. is the chain’s Union Square store in New York City. Barnes & Noble’s flagship store that set the Guinness World Record for largest bookstores was also in New York City, but it closed down in 2014, making the Union Square location the chain’s biggest store.

  3. How many books are sold in the U.S. each year?

    700-900 million books are sold in the U.S. per year. 2020 set a record with 942 million units sold in the U.S., across both eBook and print editions. That is a 9% increase from 2019. However, only 788.7 million books were sold in 2022.

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Kristin Kizer

Kristin Kizer is an award-winning writer, television and documentary producer, and content specialist who has worked on a wide variety of written, broadcast, and electronic publications. A former writer/producer for The Discovery Channel, she is now a freelance writer and delighted to be sharing her talents and time with the wonderful Zippia audience.

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