I was at Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago, and while I spent most of my time staring at all the books I want to buy but have run out of space for on my bookshelves, I took a second to look at XYZprinting’s da Vinci 1.0 Junior 3D printer, which sat in a place of honor on a shelf near the center of the store. My friend exclaimed, “Wait – Barnes & Noble sells 3D printers now?!” and I said “Yep, and they have them at Sam’s Club too!” His mind was blown – a still-common reaction from many people who don’t realize just how far 3D printing has inched into the mainstream.
As mainstream retailers go, Barnes & Noble is one of the most enthusiastic about 3D printing. Their interest lies mainly in the education department, as evidenced by their giveaway of a free, fully stocked makerspace to a lucky school earlier this year; they also became the first retailer to host a mini Maker Faire last November. The weekend-long event involved workshops, presentations, fun activities for kids, and a “Meet the Makers” series involving guests from several successful maker and tech organizations.
The event, which took place at locations around the United States, was a success, so much so that they’re doing it again this year. On the weekend of November 5th and 6th, multiple Barnes & Noble stores will host their second annual Mini Maker Faire, marking an ongoing partnership between the retailer and Make: publisher of Make: magazine and producer of Maker Faire.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to launch our second annual Mini Maker Faire in partnership with Make:, and to react to our customers’ enthusiastic response to the ‘Call to Make’ by giving them more of the authentic Maker Faire experience they enjoyed last year at our inaugural Mini Maker Faire,” said Kathleen Campisano, Vice President of Toys & Games at Barnes & Noble. “Last year, in partnership with Makers, Classrooms and Communities across the country, we worked hard to successfully break down the intimidation barrier when it comes to technology, innovation and creating and this year we plan to take it to a whole new level of engagement as we reinforce our commitment to promoting tech literacy.”
This year’s event will include several of the features of last year’s, including prominent guest makers, interactive workspaces, and more. The Make Workspace will allow guests of all ages to participate in sessions led by makers and booksellers, who will demonstrate products in 3D printing, virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, coding, programming, and more. There will also be opportunities for guests to experiment with designing and crafting projects in a hands-on, collaborative environment. Several educational tech retailers will provide their products for participants to work with, including:
“We are excited to partner with Barnes & Noble as it launches its second annual Mini Maker Faire. This is an excellent way to introduce more communities across the country to the Maker Movement as they meet local and national Makers, participate in key product demonstrations, and enjoy fun Making activities,” said Sherry Huss, co-founder of Maker Faire and Vice President of Maker Media. “We’re pleased that we can introduce Barnes & Noble customers to Make: products that have been carefully selected for this event. Books like Make: Tech DIY and Edible Inventions, Make: magazine, and Make:‘s special Halloween edition, project kits, and custom do-it-yourself project books about exploring things like electricity and discovering woodworking. Barnes & Noble is a premier partner and we look forward to continuing to work on achieving our common goal of introducing, educating, and engaging others as to what the Maker Movement is all about.”
The partnership between Make: and Barnes & Noble doesn’t end with the Mini Maker Faire. Barnes & Noble acted as a presenting sponsor at several major Maker Faires this year, including Maker Faire Bay Area and the National Maker Faire in Washington, D.C., where several pop-up Barnes & Noble shops appeared. The company will be doing the same at World Maker Faire in New York at the beginning of October.
To find out more about Mini Maker Faire speakers and events near you, contact your local Barnes & Noble location. Make sure to also keep an eye on the Mini Maker Faire website, which will be expanding to include projects, articles, video content and more, serving as a virtual Maker Faire all year round. Discuss further in the Barnes & Noble Mini Maker Faire forum at 3DPB.com.