Riggio founded the Student Book Exchange in 1965 and turned this small book store into a leading retailer. He acquired the venerable Barnes & Noble bookstore in New York in 1971 and adopted its name for his expanding company. Through the years, he acquired hundreds of bookstores and launched the Barnes & Noble superstore concept with an in-store coffee shop and spacious reading alcoves. In addition, Riggio launched Barnes & Noble.com to compete with Amazon for on-line book sales and launched a successful video game retail operation including GameStop, Babbages Etc. and Funcoland. By the end of the twentieth century, Riggio had built Barnes & Noble into the largest book seller in the world.