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Borders Group Inc., the second-largest bookstore chain in the United States
after Barnes & Noble Inc., announced today that it will be exploring strategic alternatives, including the sale of the company or its divisions in order to maximize shareholder value, according to a statement released to PR Newswire...Borders has been facing stiff competition, not only from brick-and-mortar rivals like Barnes & Noble, but online
retailers as well, such as Amazon.com and Wal-Mart.
It's not news to me that Borders has been having some financial problems. Shortly after acquiring Waldenbooks, the company closed dozens of stores (don't have the exact number handy), and yet rumors of financial strain continued. Publishers were reporting huge numbers of books returned for credit in 2007, in some cases, books ordered a year earlier that had never reached store shelves.
I've even heard rumors that these returns, sent for credit against overdue invoices, played a role in one small press's demise.
One of the key strategies Borders plans on employing is reducing the number of titles stocked in stores and facing more out on shelves to increase visibility.
What does this mean to me?
As a reader, I love Borders because it is the one big-box chain that carries titles published by smaller (independent) presses. Not to mention, there's a gorgeous new Borders right down the street from my house, the only bookstore in my town.
As a writer who relies upon sales of books that have been published by inde houses like Samhain and Ellora's Cave, it's disheartening to hear that one of the most supportive distribution outlets in the market is going to reduce inventory, carry fewer titles and perhaps close yet more stores. I expect Borders will reduce the number of small press books and instead concentrate on bestsellers published by established houses. Customers who once could go to their local Borders for their weekly fix of Ellora's Cave or Samhain titles will be forced to either buy books directly from publishers or via online retailers (Amazon).
Quite a coup for Amazon, I imagine.
Want to read more? Check out the Reuters report HERE
Okay, so that's enough of the doom and gloom. Donning my Easter Bunny ears to wish everyone a Happy Easter!
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