Barnes & Noble's CEO James Daunt appeared on "Mornings On 1" Monday to discuss the state of the bookselling industry and the growth the company has experienced since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the past decade, Barnes & Noble faced significant challenges, particularly with the rise of Amazon. Declining sales, a falling stock price and the closure of more than 100 stores, including iconic locations in its hometown of New York City, marked the tumultuous 2010s. 

However, in 2019, the hedge fund Elliott Advisors acquired Barnes & Noble, bringing in Daunt, an experienced bookseller known for successfully revitalizing the U.K.'s largest bookstore chain, Waterstones. 

Since taking the helm, Daunt has overseen a turnaround for the company, with Barnes & Noble actually opening more than 20 new locations this year and renovating existing ones, including a $4 million Upper West Side makeover. 

During his interview, Daunt reaffirmed that bookstores are not dead, and believed that the company’s recent growth can be attributed to a more inviting atmosphere. 

“Right now, we’ve seen – over the last two years – tremendous sales growth at Barnes & Noble. We could not be more optimistic. And I think it’s just that our stores are fun now,” he said. 

Daunt pointed out that Amazon has taken the “boring books” – such as “how-to” guides and textbooks – sales, allowing for Barnes & Noble to focus on books that people want to peruse. 

“People do love being in a bookstore, and they love buying physical books,” he said. 

He also reaffirmed the company’s commitment to New York City, vowing it intends to keep headquarters here. 

"We're tied to the city. It is where the heart of the business is and where a lot of our people are – the buyers and those upon whom we depend,” he said. “This is the heart of books.”