February 23rd, 2011

Borders bankrupty repercussions

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/46221-borders-bankruptcy-to-ripple-through-industry.html

The store my walking partner M. likes to go to in Marlboro will not be closing (at least not in this round), so she's happy and that's a good thing.

Ingram was went to cash-on-delivery late in 2010, so they aren't one of the big creditors in the case. I had thought that all of PGW's houses went to Perseus; surprise! Some went to NBN. They made slightly different choices about how to handle the end of last year:

"NBN, owed just under $2 million, was only shipping books to the outlet after clients agreed that NBN wouldn't be responsible for money lost in bankruptcy. Perseus Distribution Services is owed $7.8 million."

Hard to know whether the bigger number for Perseus is an artifact of them just being bigger, and how much is them making a bad call.

"The trickle-down impact will affect everyone from manufacturers to agents. Borders accounted for about 8% of overall industry sales, a higher percentage in some categories. A downsized Borders means publishers are likely to receive smaller orders and in turn place smaller first printings, resulting in less business for printers. The likelihood of lower print sales, one publisher said, means that books acquired one or two years ago when Borders was much bigger will have a more difficult time earning the advance back and that less shelf space could mean lower advances."

A lot of this really needs to happen anyway: we can't keep printing the same amount if e-copies are increasing. As for advances, well, I'm sure some of the boosters for e-only publishing will have something to say about advances being a dumb thing anyway.

"The company promises that despite closing 200 of its 488 superstores, it will remain a national chain as the map on pages 8–9 shows, Borders will have outlets in most states where it had been operating, although as many as 75 stores, on top of the 200, could be closed."

That's an awful big step down. It's not easy to find a new stable plateau in the face of that large a change.

Great Uncle Elmer and Great Aunt Abby

I first learned about my Great Aunt Abby in a scanned newspaper clipping describing in exhausting detail (literally) my parents' wedding, the clothing, who cut the cake, blah, blah, bleeping, blah.

Who is "Aunt Abby"?

And so I went on a hunt for Aunt Abby, mostly by tracking the activities of the great-uncles who might have married her. First I had to realize that Elmer did _not_ marry Dolly (that was a completely different Elmer, which became readily apparent when closely inspecting the census that helpfully supplied mother's maiden name when Elmer was an adult). Now that I _didn't_ know where Elmer was in 1920 (and 1930), I had to figure out where he was. That led me to his Emergency Passport application at the American Embassy in London in 1920, when he really just wanted to get on a boat and go back home. What had he been doing for the last few years? He'd run away to join the army, and being too young to be accepted by the Americans he'd opted for the Australian Imperial Forces (I'm still waiting on their records on Uncle Elmer, purchased online through the Australian National Archives, which, incidentally, triggered fraud prevention on the credit card used).

After the war was over, he drove an electric streetcar for Belfast City Tramways. I've blogged about that.

Elmer next appeared on Abby Louise's application for naturalization in 1933, listing Elmer as her legal husband. Their marriage occurred in Montreal in 1927, which I tried to find through the Drouin collection, and mostly failed. It did not help that I had no mortal clue what Abby's maiden name was.

Today, I got to thinking. People forget all kinds of things, but they do not forget what year they were married in. And all kinds of transcription errors occur, but generally, the year the record was created is accurate. This was one of those rare instances where checking the "exact match" box made sense. And Drouin through Ancestry.com gave me one match that was obviously correct. Best of all, the handwritten marriage certficate (goddess love Quebecois record keeping, because no one else possibly could. _Handwritten_ in 1927. Seriously. WTF? They didn't have any civil anything until 1960.) included full address for Abby, her parents names (including mother's maiden), her parents address back in Belfast. Wow.

I was merrily filling in boxes, and checked the latest hint from ancestry, to discover it had her 1924 sailing. And _that_ has cousins in Montreal, which was her destination. Sweet.

It's not getting me any closer to finding out the kids's names, but that's okay. Maybe the fam will finally sit still long enough to be found in the 1940 census when it is released in 2013. Until then, I have lots of further avenues to pursue. . .

ETA: In the meantime, I was overjoyed to notice that I finally had the answer to what does Elmer's middle initial stand for. That name is _so_ conserved, I suspect it must be a maiden name somewhere up the tree. Which gives me another possibility for tracking earlier ancestry.

Elmer's daughter!

I am _so_ excited.

I picked up Elmer's middle name from his marriage license, and on R.'s suggestion used it to do a little googling. This found me someone on an Iowa website involving a park named after a mutual ancestor -- they were asking where that middle name came from (it turns up a lot). No answer to her question, but I found her on facebook and turned up and e-mail address and we are indeed related (she would be my mother's cousin) and _she sent me pictures_!!!! Old pictures of shared ancestors.

*do a little happy dance*

And she confirmed that Elmer did indeed lead a very adventurous life.