July 18th, 2011

Borders News: Liquidation

http://www.boston.com/Boston/businessupdates/2011/07/borders-seeks-liquidate/mAx1NCe88B5Y5ZrLxNtHuJ/index.html

"On Thursday, Borders is expected to ask the Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York at a hearing to allow it to be sold to liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group of Boston. If the judge approves the move, liquidation sales could start as soon as Friday; the company could go out of business by the end of September."

This is sort of a big deal in Boston, because of the Downtown Crossing store. Lots of rumors afloat about what it might become. I, personally, like the idea of it becoming a grocery store:

http://www.wbur.org/2011/06/10/borders-boston

Back in June, "WBUR’s All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer spoke with Rosemarie Sansone, president of the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District." and Sansone said:

"A rental broker, I believe, has already been hired to find a new tenant. Any prospective tenants so far, or anyone ideal you have in mind?

People have talked about a brand-name retailer as an anchor there. A small grocery store, a boutique grocery store, could certainly be useful in this neighborhood. So I’m feeling very positive about that particular space."

Silly People Complaining Benefits Me, Or, You Can Share Prime?!?

http://consumerist.com/2011/07/amazon-student-when-a-paying-customer-isnt-a-paying-customer.html

Here's the complaint:

Kyle had Prime shipping free for a year as a student (wait, there's free Prime for students? Wow!) and it was about to expire. That Prime was a bummer because he couldn't share it (what, you can _share_ Prime?!?), but then he was offered half price Prime (there's a Half Price Prime?!?). But that was a bummer, because he still couldn't share it and that was a disappointing surprise.

He concludes with:

"If they allowed me to share the benefits with just her, they could have kept me as a customer for life instead of just for the next year."

I only just found out recently about the free streaming for Prime (which I still haven't found any compelling use for, but hey, good to know). I have Prime because it saves me money on shipping -- even tho I've switched almost entirely to digital delivery of books and other media (tells you a whole lot about my shopping habits, right there (impatient, impulsive, reclusive and not terribly price sensitive). Occasionally, I wind up buying things through my account because R. wants them. This is much more convenient. But threatening to quit shopping at Amazon because of this? I'd call the man quoted extensively by the writer a jackass -- but I don't know when I would ever have noticed this otherwise, and I'm a little grateful.

Bookstores This Week Love George R R Martin

http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/books/125664663.html

I used to read George R R Martin. But I realized a _long_ time ago that Martin's love of killing off central characters was not something I was okay with (yes, I'm talking about the Wild Cards series).

Anyway. "According to first-day sales collected by Random House, more than 170,000 print copies and 110,000 e-book copies sold on Tuesday, the largest opening for a Random House book in 2011."

Let's think for a moment about what went into this marketing phenom:

(1) HBO series: people with the money for premium cable can presumably afford a book every now and again
(2) #5 in a fiction series when #4 came out in 2005 and entries of which have been nominated for and/or won most relevant awards
(3) The boxed set for 1-4 is priced at a significant discount to the kindle editions (at least online).

The HBO series is no joke; look what happened to Harris' Sookie Stackhouse after True Blood hit it big. It doesn't matter that only some of the people who love the series are going to enjoy and stick with the books -- a whole lot of them will give it a try.

But I think #2 is a big factor. If I were a George R. R. Martin fan (I'm _really_ not) and I had been buying the series all along, I'd have the first four in paper by the time my husband bought me a kindle. And if I were a big Martin fan and had any chance at all of seeing him at a signing or, say, Worldcon, I'd _really_ want all copies in paper.

And then, it's summer, so there's the whole vacation/beach reading factor: not relevant for a serious fan, but for the vacation reader at a loss for what to try who maybe enjoyed season one of the a Game of Thrones, nothing to kid around about.

It's tough times out there for bricks-and-mortar bookshops, if the big news in summer books is Martin.