I know, you thought we’d be able to get through the day without Borders intruding. Nope. Not today. There is news from Borders here in the US as well as the Australian version of Borders as well.
On the home front, Borders has announced it is leaving Ann Arbor and moving its headquarters to “cheaper” digs in the Detroit area. Ann Arbor is where the first Borders opened. Now, the move isn’t final. It is part of the plan being presented to unsecured creditors today. We’ll see what happens. My concern is, given the real estate market in Michigan — and assuming Borders owns their current headquarters — they are setting themselves up to leave property they very well may still owe on and incur even more debt with the new headquarters. But, as I said, we’ll see what happens.
With regard to Borders in Australia, REDGroup has announced they will be closing 16 stores. These closures will impact more than 500 employees.
In related news, also from Australia, 25 independent booksellers have terminated “their franchising agreement with A&R because parent company RedGroup Retail, now in the hands of corporate insolvency group Ferrier Hodgson, would not allow them to redeem customers’ gift vouchers.” Here’s a hat tip to these retailers for trying to do what’s right by their customers. I have to admit, I’ve been expecting Borders here to suddenly decide not to honor their gift cards. So far, they’ve proven me wrong. I really hope they continue to do so.
Finally, if you ever doubted certain publishers are clueless when it comes to e-books and price points, check out this article. Kindle and Nook owners have launched a campaign of sorts to down-rate Michael Connelly’s latest book, The Fifth Witness. Not because the book is bad. No, this all comes down to cost. The TFW hardcover on Amazon costs $14.28 while the e-book costs $14.99. On B&N, it costs $14.73 for hardcover and $14.99 for the e-book.
This is a perfect example of the idiocy caused by the agency model that came into being because Steve Jobs wouldn’t let the big publishers sell through the iBookstore unless they agreed to not let any other e-tailer sell their books for less. So, the price for the e-book is set by the publisher. There can be no variation, no sales and no promotional giveaways of the book unless instigated by the publisher.
But that’s not the case for the hard cover — or for the soft cover when it comes out. Those prices are set by the retailer. This is good for the consumer because it lets us shop around for the best deal. It’s good for the publisher because, gee, it lets more people buy the book.
What the publisher doesn’t seem to understand is that they are only going to tick folks off by selling a digital copy of the book for more than a physical copy. The response has been fast and furious. For a book that came out 1 day ago, there are 107 reviews on Amazon. 18 are 5-star reviews. 3 are 4-star. 84 are 1-star reviews. That gives an average of 2 stars for this best selling author.
Now, I don’t necessarily agree with giving a book a bad review for its price. However, at some point, the publishers need to start paying attention. At the same time, some of these reviewers need to pay attention to the product page. Instead of blaming Amazon — and BN — for the price, they need to realize the price was set by the publisher.
So, once more we are on the merry-go-round of e-book pricing wars. Who knows where it is going to end.