Barnes & Noble writes a new chapter at Irvine Spectrum Center

Barnes & Noble at Irvine Spectrum Center is making it cool to buy books again.

Barnes & Noble at Irvine Spectrum Center is making it cool to buy books again.

The 30,000-square-foot bookstore has undergone a total top-to-bottom makeover, including a fresh look in the cafe.

“When customers walk in, it will feel like a brand-new store,” says Barnes & Noble Senior Director of Store Planning and Design Janine Flanigan.

The popular bookstore is one of Spectrum Center’s original merchants that opened in 1995 and later expanded to two floors in 2002.

“The Spectrum is a fantastic store for us,” Flanigan says. “It’s a top performer, which speaks to the community of Irvine and the Spectrum Center itself.”

Spectrum store is unique

As part of a 2019 companywide turnaround launched by CEO James Daunt, each Barnes & Noble store now acts as an independent bookseller.

So what you’ll find at the Spectrum store differs from what you’ll find at other stores.

Because Irvine is home to many families, you’ll find a larger-than-usual children’s section; because the city is home to so many high-tech businesses, you’ll find stacks of books on artificial intelligence; and because the Spectrum attracts so many teens, you’ll find sections dedicated to their interests, as well.

It’s not just about book genres, either. It’s about how the books are displayed.

Popular books have been pulled from the stacks and displayed on large tables, surrounded by books of similar interest.

As Daunt himself recently told The Wall Street Journal: “We’re here to help people browse.”

Adding ‘book rooms’

This fall, the bookseller will do even more – installing all new bookshelves and arranging them to form “book rooms.”

“Instead of aisles of books, you can see the entire section all at once – with displays in the middle,” assistant store manager Melinda Hagman says.

They’ll add easy chairs throughout the store, too.

In the meantime, you can join one of the store’s three book clubs, which cover contemporary romance, horror and “romantasy,” a blend of romance and fantasy. Or bring the kids to a Wednesday morning story time. Or hear an author’s talk.

“We have a popular romance writer coming in a few months,” Hagman says. “We can’t say who yet, but that’s going to be huge!”