Ruth Anton puts away books Thursday that arrived that morning in the fiction section of the new Barnes & Noble in South Portland. The bookseller’s third store in Maine will open on May 22. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Barnes & Noble will open a bookstore and cafe near Target in South Portland on May 22.

It is the retailer’s third location in Maine and the second since the company was acquired by hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. in 2019.

The South Portland shop will be located at the former Bed Bath & Beyond building at 200 Running Hill Road.

Trucks carrying the store’s inventory of books were expected to arrive in South Portland on Thursday, according to a post on the shop’s social media page.

A spokesperson for Barnes & Noble said it expects to hire 20 to 30 workers at the new shop.

The company does not currently have plans to open other locations in Maine “though we are always looking for new opportunities to open bookstores in different communities,” said Janine Flanigan, senior director for store planning and design.


For nearly 20 years, the Barnes & Noble in Augusta – which opened in 1995 – had been the company’s only Maine location. It opened a shop in Brunswick last July.

Boxes filled with just-delivered books sit in front of empty shelves at the new Barnes & Noble Booksellers in South Portland on Thursday. The company’s third store in Maine will open on May 22. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Barnes & Noble has about 600 stores in the U.S. and is the country’s biggest chain bookseller. Its parent company also owns Waterstones, Great Britain’s largest book chain.

The company has been rolling out a new look nationally meant to emphasize more books and fewer trinkets, especially near the entrances and registers. The designs also feature lighter wood shelving and pastel wall colors.

“The store will be in our new design with light colored fixtures(and) bright paint colors (Victorian lace, not robin’s egg blue for this location),” Flanigan said.

The new Maine shop will be the second branch of a national bookseller in South Portland, adding competition for Books-A-Million, which has a location near the Maine Mall less than a mile away.

It also comes amid an explosion of independent booksellers in Greater Portland. The city has about five times as many as a city of its size has on average nationally.

Flanigan said Barnes & Noble has “been looking at the Portland market for quite some time.”

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