Borders Group is selling its Paperchase stationery subsidiary to Primary Capital, a U.K. private equity firm, for about $31 million and will use at least $25 million of the proceeds to reduce outstanding debt on its $90 million term loan credit facility. Wall Street liked the news: yesterday Borders stock closed at $1.61, up 9.5%.
In 1999, Borders bought 15% of Paperchase, which was founded in the U.K in the 1970s. In 2004 Borders bought most of the rest of the company--excluding 3%. At the time, Paperchase was valued at $34.1 million, including the assumption of $4.1 million of debt.
Paperchase sells stationery, cards and gifts and has both stand-alone stores and sections in Borders stores. After the sale, Borders will continue to carry Paperchase products.
Mike Edwards, president of Borders Group, called the sale "another major step in strengthening our balance sheet--and enables us to place an even greater focus on our financial and strategic initiatives, which are vital to a Borders turnaround and revitalization of the brand."
A group including the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Harvard Bookstore, Cambridge, Mass., Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass., the AAP, the ACLU and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has filed suit against a Massachusetts law that went into effect on Monday banning from the Internet sexually explicit material that could be harmful to minors. The group argues that the law is "a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to shield children from explicit and otherwise harmful material online" that is "too broad and cannot be enforced," the Boston Globe wrote. Under the law, violators may be fined $10,000 or sentenced to five years in prison or both.
Speaking of the law's possible effect on the store's website, Carole Horne, general manager at Harvard Bookstore, told WBUR, "A lot of the book jackets have photographs of nudes, some of them deal with sexually explicit material, and we are concerned that somebody could decide that's harmful to minors and go after us."
The law tightens up an earlier law banning the sale of sexually explicit material to minors that had not included the Internet.
A Wall Street Journal piece yesterday about signings in New York City bookstores, a kind of guide to which Barnes & Noble and Borders locations are most prestigious and most suited to particular types of books, received some strong reaction.
In a thoughtful blog post, Overlook Press took a second look at some of the issues, writing in part: "Even a chain store will have its own personality, whether it's in terms of size, accessories (the Lincoln Triangle B&N has a piano and excellent video equipment), or the surrounding neighborhood. An author who's a West Village or Upper East Side resident or native will often get the best response there."
Book trailer of the day: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James (Bantam), published yesterday.
The New York Times surveys nanny novels, which "still draw a keen audience" nine years after the publication of The Nanny Diaries. The books showcase "complex and imperfect nannies whose personal stories intersect with thorny larger questions about race, class, immigration and parenthood."
Will Leathem, co-owner of Prospero's
, Kansas City, Mo., "couldn't imagine a city like Blue Springs
without the kind of book store he and [Beth King] will be reopening on
Friday," the Examiner
"The people I've
met here in Westport have ties to the Blue Springs area, and throughout
the years they have been asking us to move out to the area," he said.
"They've kept telling us, 'You've got to move out to Blue Springs, you
have to.' "
Leathem expressed interest in Parkside Books earlier
this year when he heard that one of the owners was retiring. His
subsequent negotiations with King have resulted in the shop's official
grand reopening as Prospero's Parkside Books.
King welcomed the
change: "The store was up for sale last year, but last January wasn't a
good time to try and sell anything," she said, adding that when Leathem
approached her, "I offered to co-manage with him and we went from there.
I knew there was potential in the store.... This is good news. You know
how it is when a dream comes true?”
"Just about the
only thing I enjoy more than fried seafood in summertime is finding a
new bookstore," mused Boston Bibliophile
in the opening of a blog post
about her recent day trip to Cape Ann, on Boston's north shore, "to
visit four new-to-us used bookstores."
something quite magical about going into used bookstore," wrote CultureMob
to introduce its "recommendations for
the best used bookstores in Washington, D.C. Visit them all and pick up
those books you have been meaning to read."
history of the slush pile was featured in the Awl
, which concluded that the term "is
loaded with numerous shady insinuations. From the Post
deployment of 'slush pile' to Van Loan's unethical reporter and ship
slush emerges the foul and mercenary undertones that resonate into our
modern use of 'slush pile.' One does often associate slush piles with
the trash bin. Is that where J.H. Seward & Co.'s rotten sawdust
fruit should have gone? How about leftover cooking fat? Or irresponsible
journalism? Apparently not. Just ask fans of John Ashbery, Philip Roth,
Harry Potter and Twilight, slush pile rescuees all."
in time for last night's All-Star game, the Huffington Post
featured "16 of the Greatest
Books About Baseball."
Effective August 2, John Groton is joining National Book Network as v-p of sales. He has held senior and executive sales positions at Simon & Schuster, Random House, Globe Pequot Press and most recently Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
He will be based in Stonington, Conn., and have offices in New York City and Lanham, Md. He may be reached at email@example.com.