Notes: Borders, B&N Stock Gains; Bullish on Books in Maine
On a day the Dow Jones was up 1.1%, both Barnes & Noble and Borders Group stocks rose significantly, in both cases because of major shareholder comments or actions.
Borders rose 39.3%, to $1.32, in after-hours trading following a comment by Bill Ackman (whose Pershing Square Capital Management is the company's single-largest shareholder) on CNBC's Fast Money that bankruptcy is "a low probability event" for Borders. He added that Borders "may become part of an industry consolidation at some point, or it may survive as a standalone company.... I think Borders is much more attractive risk/reward than Barnes & Noble. Ultimately I think the industry may consolidate and the two companies may become one."
And a day after it became public that Ronald Burkle, head of Yucaipa Funds and owner of 18.7% of B&N stock, wants to be able to double his stake and may be preparing a proxy fight (Shelf Awareness, February 2, 2010), B&N stock rose 7.8%, to $19.40 a share.
Bull Moose, a music, movie and video game retailer with 10 shops in Maine and New Hampshire, is entering the book business by expanding its Bangor store "to make room for 3,000 square feet of book shelves, and will use it to test the statewide market," Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported.
Owner Brett Wickard told MPBN that 2009 was the most successful of his company's 20 years. "We're going to try to show that a local retailer can be really competitive and aggressive in the book business, even as inexpensive as the online firms," he said, adding, "We want to appeal to the casual reader, to the totally 'buying-everything-that's-coming-out' kind of reader and to the young and to the old--we're going for everybody."
Wickard is planning an aggressive pricing strategy, offering most titles at 35% discount. "We're going try it out up there and if it's successful out there, you're going see that go to a number of other Bull Moose locations," he said. "Our strategy is going to be that we are going to look for opportunities and, as we see them, we want to aggressively jump for them."
The 2009 Summit Unchained ("Buy Local") Challenge generated nearly $48,000--a 229% increase over 2008--between November 21 and December 31, a period when Summit County, Colo., residents and visitors were asked to shift at least 10% of their spending to local, independent businesses for the holiday season, the Daily News reported.
"We had more members this year distributing the cards and participating in the event in various ways, whether it was doing the co-op educational advertising, donating a prize for the drawing, handing out punch cards, or all three of these things," said Katie Roberts, executive director of the Summit Independent Business Alliance, which sponsored the campaign. "We heightened visibility of the campaign with support materials, such as posters and window/door decals, as well as a bright red reusable bag, which said 'Break the Chain in Support of Local, Independent Business.'"
The Summit Unchained Challenge offered a specially-designed punch card, which tracked the amount spent by each participant. Cards turned in were entered in a drawing, with winners picking up their prizes at the Next Page Bookstore, Frisco.
Yes, reading has side effects. Unbridled Books offers this cautionary and very amusing public service announcement.
N.D. Wilson's 100 Cupboards is Al Roker's latest pick for Al's Book Club for Kids on the Today Show.
Every great business venture has its "eureka" moment. Saturday Night Live portrayed the meeting of the minds between Mr. Barnes and Mr. Noble in 1917, and the genesis of an idea that became... well, you know the rest.
Katherine Paterson, who was recently named National Ambassador to Young People's Literature, made her case in the New York Daily News for why she believes "Apple's iPad is no book-killer." See how she threads Plato and Socrates (in "The Dialogues") into her argument.
Effective January 29, Princeton Architectural Press, a division of Springer Verlag (Berlin) since 1997, returned to independent status. Kevin Lippert, founder and publisher of PAPress, purchased the majority stake in the company from Springer.
"It has been a pleasure to be part of the Springer family for these many years, and to work with so many talented people on both sides of the Atlantic," said Lippert, "but the strategic directions of our two businesses were diverging so quickly that a partnership no longer made sense. Our new independent status will provide us with the opportunity to use the innovations we've learned from Springer, particularly in electronic books, to continue to broaden the scope of what design publishing constitutes."
PAPress will continue to be distributed by Chronicle Books in North and South America and Asia, Raincoast in Canada, Coen Sligting in Europe, PGUK in the U.K. and Manic Exposeur in Australia and New Zealand.
The joys and frustrations of "product placement." Last Sunday, Fox News interviewed a family and their treating neurologist about the Ketogenic Diet, which had been successful in the treatment of their son. On her lap, the mother is holding--but does not mention during the interview--copies of The Ketogenic Diet: A Treatment for Children and Others with Epilepsy The Ketogenic Diet and Keto Kid: Helping Your Child Succeed on the Ketogenic Diet, both published by Demos Health.