It's back to the drawing board for Borders. At a hearing yesterday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn said a revised executive bonus plan still needs to change and "told lawyers to negotiate with the U.S. Trustee in the hall outside his courtroom," Bloomberg reported.
"If this business goes down the toilet bowl, there are a lot of full or part-time employees who face the prospect of going out of work," Glenn said.
Bruce Buechler, a lawyer for unsecured creditors, had told the judge that the bonus plan (Shelf Awareness, April 14, 2011) was revised yesterday so the five top executives "would receive $4.9 million at most if they return more than $95 million to unsecured creditors. They could get $1.8 million if $73 million is recovered," Bloomberg wrote.
"As we look at running a sales process--selling all the debtors' assets or infusing equity into the company instead of just a stand-alone plan, we need management not just to be there, but to be cheerleaders or affirmative spokespeople for the company," said Buechler.
Glenn suggested Borders should include a scenario where less than $73 million is recovered.
In a statement, company spokesman Jeremy Fielding said, "We look forward to meeting with the U.S. Trustee to demonstrate to them that this proposed program is in the best interest of Borders, its creditors and other stakeholders. Our objective is to create value to benefit the creditors and all of the company's stakeholders, so that Borders can exit Chapter 11 in short order."
Borders has begun filing lease cancellation requests on a number of
properties in addition to the 226 superstores approved for closure by
the bankruptcy court. CoStar.com
reported the company "has filed 12 such requests in the last three
weeks, and is seeking to cancel leases on more than 50 locations."
The April 12 deadline date has come and gone, but Amazon's Irving, Tex., distribution center remains open, the Austin American-Statesman reported. In February, Amazon responded with the closure threat after Texas assessed the online retailer $269 million in uncollected sales tax, interest and penalties for the four years running from December 2005 to December 2009 (Shelf Awareness, February 11, 2011).
As of Wednesday, the facility was still operating and "a hiring firm is interviewing to fill temporary jobs at the center," the Dallas Morning News reported, adding, "Apparently the Seattle-based company wasn’t ready to carry out its vow to vacate the facility by Tuesday." The American-Statesman noted that Amazon "confirmed Wednesday only that operations were winding down at the Irving center, and declined to give additional details."
In South Carolina, Amazon has instituted a hiring freeze for 11 management positions at the planned distribution center near Cayce "as legislative allies race to deliver the tax exemption that the online retailer wants," the State reported.
In a statement, Paul Misener, Amazon v-p for public policy, said, "We look forward to working with legislators to enable us to restart our hiring process."
Effective May 1, Staples will begin selling the Nook Color in all of its stores nationwide and at Staples.com for $249.
"Staples is excited to bring this amazing product with its enhanced applications to our stores this Spring, which is just in time to celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day with a gift of the newest technology," said Mark Mettler, senior v-p for consumer technology at Staples.
In the latest segment of its Houston by the Book series, the Houston Press profiled Brazos Bookstore
and Jane Moser, who "manages the day-to-day operations, scheduling
appearances, and--most importantly--buying the books. While she admits
that it indeed is no picnic, it's a job that clearly brings her a good
bit of joy."
In 2006, when previous owner Karl Kilian was ready to step aside, Moser,
who had been a children's bookstore owner, was one of 25 Houstonians
who "came together and formed an LLC and bought the store. I was one of
the people who worked on the deal to get it together.... I had been a
customer of this store for years, and knew the owners. So when it came
up that they were trying to put a deal together, none of the people who
bought it wanted to run it. They just wanted to save it."
Moser added, "Everybody loves the idea of a strong, independent
bookstore in town. People like the idea, but now we're in a changing
age, and people are going to have to support the sale of physical books
as well, or we're going to lose these opportunities for meeting the
authors, etc. That serendipitous experience of walking in a bookstore
and seeing a book you didn't know you needed, or meeting an author you
didn't know about before, or seeing another book by an author, or seeing
a cover that just grabs you--those are things that just aren't yet
Christopher J. Zane will be the opening plenary speaker at the American Booksellers Association’s Day of Education at BookExpo America on Monday, May 23, Bookselling This Week wrote. Zane is a 29-year veteran of the retail bicycle industry who bought his first bike shop at age 16 and has built Zane’s Cycles into one of the largest retail bicycle stores in the nation. "His unique approach to marketing includes strategies that stress continual learning, the lifetime value of a customer, guerrilla marketing, and cost-controlled customer service," BTW reported.
As the morning plenary speaker, Zane will share insights on the lifetime value of one customer to a store’s bottom line, and discuss unique approaches to customer relationship marketing, understanding the psychology of today’s customer, and acquiring the tools to build lifetime relationships in the B2C and B2B markets.
On their BookBroads blog, Roberta Dyer and Sally McPherson of Broadway Books, Portland, Ore., have a "State of the Union at Broadway Books" post, in which they showcase "ten things that we’re doing" as well as "ten things that you can do" to help the bookshop weather changes in the industry.
"We live in interesting times," they wrote, adding, "Our little corner of the world (that is, publishing and bookselling and reading in general) is changing so fast that we all struggle to keep up. And because so many of you have asked us how these changes are affecting our business, we’d like to keep you up to date.
"Just like you, we are in this for the long haul. For nearly 20 years, we’ve been an active part of this community. With your support, we plan to be here for many years to come. We participate in the Northeast Broadway Business Association, which is committed to keeping our community vibrant and diverse, with lots of great locally owned shops, restaurants, and other services. We firmly believe that small neighborhood stores contribute to the quality of life in these transitional times. We hope that you agree."
"I was walking through Manhattan a while ago with my camera and I found myself taking photos of some of the spots that used to house my favorite bookstores," wrote Michael Maren in a poignant blog post headlined "My Favorite Bookstores, In Memoriam."
Salman Rushdie is in the process of selecting 10 "American classics" to be placed in guest rooms at the Standard Hotel in New York City during the PEN World Voices Festival, April 25 to May 1, the New York Post reported. The titles, which will be provided by Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, have not yet been confirmed.
Friends and employees of the Book Barn, Niantic, Conn., are mourning the death of Frank the cat, the bookstore's popular 12-pound, 15-year-old English tabby. "Flowers, empty cat food dishes, a packet of catnip and a very scratched-up wood panel are silent memorials to Frank left at the Book Barn," WGGB-TV reported.
Headline of the day: "Azkaban Nearing Capacity." Fortune reported that the Daily Prophet's media empire has a competitor in the world of wizardry. Magic Is Might "simulates a newspaper run by the Ministry of Magic under Voldemort's control" and "will condense the events in Deathly Hallows into four months, ending with the July 15 release of Warner Bros. Pictures' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. Readers are encouraged to join in by choosing between the Ministry and 'The Rebellion,' and fighting for their side through interactive contests, puzzles, and various methods of 'digital warfare.' "
Too true to be funny? The Onion cast its satiric gaze on author readings with an article headlined "Author Promoting Book Gives It Her All Whether It's Just 3 People Or A Crowd Of 9 People."
Glenn Taylor, author of The Marrowbone Marble Company, chose his top 10 books of the American South for the Guardian, observing that on his list "at least one may not be Southern, in some folks' estimation. Each is a book that has, at one time in my life, sustained me as a reader and a writer. These books will ride inside your blood vessels. They'll stick to your ribs."
Book trailer of the day: Shifty's War: The Authorized Biography of Sergeant Darrell "Shifty" Powers, the Legendary Sharpshooter from the Band of Brothers by Marcus Brotherton (Berkley).
Sean Concannon, who left Parson Weems Publisher Services in December,
has joined Sonnet Media, a web development firm, as director of business
Concannon continues as executive director of NAIPR,
an advisor to booksellers on the ABA's IndieCommerce solution and
consultant. He may be reached at email@example.com.