Well, it’s not only Borders that is shaking things up at their corporate headquarters. According to Publishers Weekly, B&N has laid off approximately 100 employees. What’s troublesome from a reader’s perspective is that it looks like the hardest hit area of the company in this round of “lay-offs” — I agree with one of the comments I’ve seen that what B&N has done is fire these 100 employees — is in their buying group.
From PW: B&N wouldn’t confirm the number or names of people let go, but PW has learned that Bob Wietrak, the well-known v-p of merchandising, and Marcella Smith, director of small press and vendor relations, have left the along with a number of buyers, including cookbook buyer Lee Stern. Reports say about 45 to 50 positions in the buying group were eliminated.
What is most disconcerting for publishers, large and small, is there has been no announcement about how the responsibilities these 45 – 50 people once performed will be handled. It is something that we, as readers, should also worry about.
But the real concern is that this puts publishers in an even more precarious position when it comes to the big chain brick and mortar stores. Borders is demanding they take on up to a third of the company’s debt or they won’t carry that publisher’s books. (at least that’s the inference). Now B&N has laid off a huge portion of its buyers/merchandising officers.etc. The only good news is that this past year was better for independents than in recent years
Perhaps my prediction that we’ll see more independents surviving and ultimately thriving as they carve out their own niche markets is coming true sooner than I expected.