Barnes & Noble was started in conjunction with Starbucks in the early 1980s as part of a joint business venture that focused on one goal: the domination of the American consumer market. And where better to start such a conquest than in America's center of commerce, New York City? The First Star Bucks (a.k.a: Barnes & Noble) opened on January 1st, 1983, the same day that Bill Gates' IBM PC was first sold publicly. Coincidence? I think not.
But that is besides the point. Barnes & Noble began by offering a large selection of books and music, along with gourmet cheesecake and coffee. Not only did they appeal to America's desire to be entertained on a constant basis, but they provided food at the same time! What better way to win the hearts of the fat, lazy Americans than with a combination of food AND entertainment?! Simply genius! They could sit on the books and eat food at the same time!
However, in 1992, Borders opened up. Sure, they weren't as nice-looking as Barnes & Noble - they also didn't serve as good a quality of food or carry as large a selection of books, either - but they still became valid competition for the entertainment/nourishment giant in a few short years. As a result, Barnes & Noble decided to up the ante; they began carrying DVDs in addition to books and music. How could one compete?
However, Borders, being the sly devils that they are, also began carrying DVDs. They also began opening stores in the same vicinity as Barnes & Noble; in some cases, right across the street from them. What was Barnes & Noble to do? the were in danger of losing their rightful spot as entertainment giant!
edit Supremacy by Force
The answer was simple: destroy the competition. No more pussyfooting around for Barnes & Noble; they were taking the fight straight to the Borders bookstores themselves. Barnes & Noble began hiring crack mercenary commando units to infiltrate and sabotage the Borders bookstores; destroy books, break CDs, kill the cashiers, whatever needed to be done. It was remarkably successful, too. In 2004, Borders began closing and demolishing its stores, handing over their inventories to Barnes & Noble. Whether this was also the work of the commandos remains unknown, but it is known that Barnes and Noble remains the top supplier of fatty foodstuffs and shallow entertainment in the United States.
edit Side Notes
Not to be confused with Barnes & Nobles, which is a similar bookstore but appeals to the illiterate crowd who only shop for In Touch magazine and Far Side calendars. According to Mark Twain, they sell a lot of his books, which is too controversial for their book selection. They actually don't, because they are mostly banned from the internet and everywhere else.