Monday, 23 November 2009

Problems for Borders means problems for authors

The news about Borders UK being up for sale and struggling to find a buyer, which could result in them going into administration this week, is bad news for the staff, authors, publishers and readers.  Unfortunately it is a sign of the times both economic and the way the entire publishing and bookselling industry is changing.
  

Borders UK hopes to sell about 36 of its 45 bookshops and if it does then at least there will still  be a book chain on the high street along with Waterstones and W.H. Smiths, although I tend not to think of the latter as a bookshop and can't recall the last time I actually bought a book there.

Books etc, is holding closing-down sales at its remaining eight stores, which are due to shut their doors early in 2010.

It is reported in the media that Borders is talking to HMV, which owns rival Waterstone's, who are only interested in buying a handful of stores, and probably then to cherry pick the locations.

If Borders goes into administration this sounds like Woolworth's all over again and publishers will receive a high level of returns therefore denting their blance sheets, which in turn will mean reductions in commissioning new titles and author cutbacks.

The growth of cheaper books and the rise of online book stores has hit all bookshops. It's also affected publishers and authors.  There is one silver lining in this cloud though and that is online bookshops offer readers a far greater choice than any bricks and mortar shop can (always given that the reader has access to the Internet) and it also means that many more authors can have their books show cased.

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