Book lovers rejoice: Barnes & Noble will reopen a store on the Promenade. 

The opening had been rumored and hinted at in recent weeks with cryptic window signs and social media posts but the news became official on Thursday with a large banner outside the location on the 1300 block of the Promenade. 

Barnes & Noble previously occupied the large space on the north east corner of the Promenade bordering Wilshire. The two story location served locals and visitors alike for 22 years before closing in January of 2018. 

The space has been largely vacant since. A co-work center briefly opened on the second floor but other uses, such as occupancy by a wellness company, never materialized. 

With the departure of Barnes & Noble, the city had been left with a smattering of specialty sellers and independent stores including spiritual booksellers, the SMC bookstore and Hi De Ho Comics. 

“Barnes and Noble is one of a number of new businesses choosing to establish themselves on the Third Street Promenade,” said DTSM CEO Andrew Thomas. “To have Barnes and Noble, a business that is recalled so fondly by our stakeholders, return to the Promenade sends a very strong message: Downtown Santa Monica remains a viable destination, there are deals to be made by our commercial property owners and brokers, and the story about our Downtown is about investment and recovery.”

The new location is smaller and is part of a national expansion for the book retailer. 

The company said it is experiencing a period of tremendous growth, buoyed by significant expansion of the market for physical books driven by word-of-mouth and social media recommendations. In 2022, Barnes & Noble opened more new bookstores in a single year than it had in the whole decade from 2009 to 2019. The bookseller expects to open over 30 new bookstores in 2023. 

The Santa Monica store was just listed as “coming soon” on Thursday but the news was met with joy by local shoppers. 

Royce Riddle installed the announcement banner and said people were excited. 

“I’ve been putting this up for a few hours and I think there’s been about 40 people that have taken pictures of it,” he said. “And there’ve been at least 20 people that stopped and told us how excited they are to be back, say thank you, people are pumped.”

Jesse Brown was indeed excited when she walked past the new location. 

“I think it’s a wonderful benefit for the Promenade because this promenade hasn’t had a bookstore in a while or not that I know of. And it’s good for parents, mostly good for children to have a place where they can see book options,” she said. “They’re so used to buying books on Amazon these days that they actually don’t see the different breadth that they can get in books and different contents.”

Local student Olivia Coulter said the store would be a boon to her peers. 

“I’m so excited that Barnes and Nobles is coming to the promenade with the upcoming school year. It’ll be way easier for kids from the west side to be able to access books,” she said. 

The new Barnes & Noble is the second book business of the year to open in Santa Monica. 

In February, Zibby’s Bookshop opened on Montana as the brainchild of a “bookfluencer” who wanted to open a highly-curated, warm and inviting indie bookstore with intimate, frequent events, all designed to connect books and authors to readers and each other.