Book Stores

Why is Barnes & Noble performing well while Borders is bankrupt?

Why is Barnes & Noble performing well as a business while Borders is near (or has even reached) bankruptcy?
What is so different about how they are run?
1.Failure to adequately address the internet sales channel and the subsequent ebook market.
2.Poor real estate strategy - Borders leased space that was too large, the storefronts did not compare well to B&N, and they were complacent in picking and relocating existing stores to the best locations.
3.Over-investment in music - while this was a big plus for this in the early to mid 90's, this was a disaster in the long run.
4.Over-reliance on assortment size to compete as opposed to efficient operations - Borders was renowned for its wide and quality assortment of titles.
5.Failure to build efficient systems and processes


Who Wins As Bookselling Suffers?

Who Wins As Bookselling Suffers?
Does the search for volume sales drive publishers into doing more high discount deals, or what is often termed as ‘special sales’ with supermarkets? As these retailers have demonstrated they will drive down the price narrow the range and will only entertain books if they make their square footage contribution.

It is difficult to envisage the Independents being able to take up the slack. If fewer inventory is going through the traditional channel, will this impact the economics of the current supply chain?


Borders files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Borders files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
Borders Group is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization after a long struggle to stay afloat as the book and music businesses changed beneath its feet.

The 40-year-old company plans to close about 30 percent of its stores, or about 200, over the next few weeks.


A Ray of Hope in Tunisia...Previously Banned Books for Sale

From The Irish Times:

LOOKING OUT the window of her bookshop on Avenue Bouguiba, where two dozen curious faces are pressed against the pane to catch a glimpse at her latest display, Selma Jabbes is a picture of quiet satisfaction.

The crowds outside the Al Kitab bookshop are staring at a selection of newly arrived titles under the heading Livres interdits , a selection of books banned under the regime of deposed president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and now freely available for the first time.

Most concern Ben Ali, his wife Leila Trabelsi, political repression, Islamism and corruption in the regime.

Al Kitab is still awaiting delivery of its first order of banned books from Europe; those in the window were donated by readers and put on display “to give an idea of how we suffered here”, says Jabbes, a softly-spoken woman greeted by name by many of her customers.

Under Ben Ali’s rule, booksellers required a visa from the interior ministry for every work they wanted to import, and the process could take several months. The list of sensitive subject matter was long and ever-changing, but virtually every foreign title that touched on the president or his entourage, or which denigrated his policies, was strictly prohibited.

Exchanging Real Books for Unwanted Kindles

If you happen to be in the Portland, OR area and have an unwanted/unused Kindle, take it to Microcosm Publishing book and zine store and leave with an equivalent value in printed books....

Details here

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Helping indie bookstores survive on thin ice

Helping indie bookstores survive on thin ice
But all that's changing now. As competition from stiffens and the long-looming specter of e-books materializes into a stark new reality, indie bookstores are broadening their outreach in an effort to establish themselves as community nerve centers.


L. A.'s Mystery Books to Close; Can't Compete with Amazon

From LA Observed: Owners Kirk Pasich and Pamela Woods say they can no longer compete with Amazon - and a sour economy hasn't helped. The decision to close comes just as the Borders' store in Westwood is in the process of shutting down. That leaves Westwood without any bookstore, chain or independent. I also believe it's the last mystery bookstore in L.A. From an email being sent out:

We simply cannot compete with the Amazons of the world and the impact of the economy. We love the bookstore and mysteries and the relationships we've formed with authors and publishers and agents and publicists. But, we do have retirement to think about (not in the near future!), and family and, well, all of those things that require money. So, it is with considerable sadness that we announce that The Mystery Bookstore, Los Angeles, will--after many years (and as apparently the last-standing bookstore in Westwood, other than UCLA's student store)--be closing. Last day is Jan. 31.


Borders on the Brink of Bankruptcy

In better days, the Borders bookstore in Westwood  hosted book signings for photographer Annie Leibovitz, actor-turned-producer Henry Winkler and musician Sir Paul McCartney. But now, the countdown to its closing is on. Friday is the last day. Story from L.A. Times Books.

In related news, two top Borders executives resigned today; story from Galley Cat.

Can Book Retailer Borders Survive Without Its Own eReader?

Book and media retailer Borders announced today that it will hold off on paying some publishers in order to buy time and reorganize its debt amid a year of weak sales in its brick and mortar stores in the era of digital distribution.

The company has seen declining sales in books, movies and music since electronic book readers have emerged and most consumers have started to use digital distribution marketplaces like iTunes. Borders’ revenue was down 17.5 percent in tis most recent quarter when compared to the same quarter a year ago, according to their most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Its loss has also doubled to $74.4 million, up from a loss of $37.7 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

Full article


Bayonne Bookstore Blues

From the Hudson Reporter (NJ):

The owner of Unique Books, Bayonne’s only bookstore, is about to close his doors for good in about a week. Open since 2003, the store has struggled to make a profit.

Janes said the causes leading him to end a lifelong dream were not only the common ones that people cite for bookstores closing. He said rising rent (about $600 more), customers not buying enough books, and owing book distributors money all played a role.

Janes was also critical of the current business climate in Bayonne, which has declined considerably on Broadway, which he sees as a product of Bayonne’s attitude towards small businesses.

“I have a friend with a bookstore in Ridgewood who pulls in a quarter of a million dollars in a year in a town smaller than this one because his town supports him,” Janes said. “This town does not support small businesses; they’re forever building on [Route 440] and nobody shops on Broadway. City officials need to promote shopping on Broadway and provide for more free parking.”



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