Barnes & Noble University Enrolls 200,000 Students

March 23, 2001

NEW YORK — Barnes & (Nasdaq: BNBN) ( announced today that more than 200,000 students have taken classes at the Barnes & Noble University since its online campus opened last summer on the Web site. The university, the leading online source for free distance learning courses, opened enrollment this week for its April semester, which will offer more than 50 free courses in a variety of subjects, from “Home Decorating Basics” to “Introduction to Programming” to “Organizing from the Inside Out.”

Classes for the new semester begin on April 9. Each course is taught by an instructor who is an expert in the subject matter, and many of the instructors are also authors.

Len Gilbert, Barnes &’s vice president in charge of the university, outlined the following results of Barnes & Noble University’s first nine months in operation:

  • More than 200,000 students have taken courses. In any given month, more students are enrolled at Barnes & Noble University than at all but the largest state universities.

  • About 40 percent of students have already enrolled in more than one course; nearly 10 percent have enrolled in four or more courses.

  • The largest class in a single month – “Organizing from the Inside Out” – attracted more than 6,000 students.

  • Online courses have provided a new revenue channel. During enrollment periods, many titles recommended for courses have reached the company’s bestseller list, including “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreements Without Giving In,” “Organizing from the Inside Out” and “Adobe Photoshop 6.0 Classroom in a Book.” In addition, about half of the students who buy course materials also buy non-course books on the site. Many also buy recommended books in Barnes & Noble stores.

  • Business and technical courses have been among the most popular, the top courses attracting more than 10,000 students each in the first six months. Among the most popular of these are “Adobe Photoshop Basics,” “Building Your First Web Page” and “Introduction to XML.”

  • The most popular general interest courses include “Yoga for Novices,” “Mapping the Civil War” and “The Night Sky: An Introduction to Astronomy.”

“The response from Barnes & Noble University students has been overwhelmingly positive,” Mr. Gilbert said. “One student, who took a course on “Walking Through Shakespeare: The Comedies,” had this to say: ‘I believe I have learned more about Shakespeare in this course than I did in my college courses. I cannot wait to take the course on the tragedies.'”

“Barnes & Noble University has turned our Web site into an education in itself,” said Steve Riggio, vice chairman of Barnes & “In addition to adding educational value for our customers, our free online courses have added a Barnes & Noble style of community to our site. They have also generated significant sales of recommended course books.”

The company is working directly with authors to develop courses based upon their books and plans to provide them with digital publishing opportunities. “We envision Barnes & Noble University as a great channel for authors to develop their own brands as well as to extend the reach and scope of their intellectual property,” Mr. Riggio said.

Information on enrolling in free courses at Barnes & Noble University can be found at, under the Online Courses tab.

Barnes & Noble University was created in partnership with Powered, Inc., the leading provider of branded online learning centers to enhance commerce.

About Barnes &

Barnes & is an Internet commerce company offering a comprehensive range of books and related information products. With more than seven million unique visitors per month to its Web site, the company has the largest audience reach of any brick and mortar company with an Internet presence. It stocks the largest in-stock selection of in-print book titles, supplemented by more than 20 million listings from its nationwide network of out-of-print, rare and used book dealers. Its college textbook store offers a vast selection of new and used textbooks and its recently introduced eBookStore has established the company as a leader in the delivery of digital content and intellectual property.

Barnes &’s excellence in e-commerce extends to the music business, where it was cited by as the No. 1 music site on the Web, for being “best-of-class for anyone who wants to learn about the music they’re buying.” The company’s product ranges now include a full complement of information products, including DVD and video.

The company’s focus on information products is manifest in its Barnes & Noble University, a distance learning forum offering free classes, ranging from “Introduction to Programming” to “Introduction to XML” to “The Night Sky: An Introduction to Astronomy”” to “Walking through Shakespeare.” Barnes & Noble University has quickly established itself as a leading Internet hub for learning and community.

Contact Information:

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Gus Carlson

Vice President, Corporate Communication


Barnes &

Carolyn Brown

Director, External Communications