The unsecured creditors' committee in the Borders Group bankruptcy has asked the judge in the case not to accept Borders's request for a four-month extension of the mid-June deadline for filing a plan to get out of bankruptcy--whether by selling the company, shutting it down or emerging from bankruptcy as a ongoing business--arguing that it is "gravely concerned" that such an extension, which would not allow the committee to come up with an alternative plan for the company, "could be detrimental to the interests of [Borders'] general unsecured creditors." It is amenable to an extension if the judge allows the committee to come up with a plan for Borders to exit bankruptcy.
The committee stated that Borders has neither found a buyer nor come up with a credible plan and that Borders has reported losses "at an alarming rate"--already more than $180 million in two and a half months. "One way or another," the committee said, "one or more sale(s) or a consensual plan will have to occur or be prepared in the next 30-60 days."
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for this Thursday, June 2. The unsecured creditors' committee includes representatives from Penguin, HarperCollins, Random House and Perseus.
Some 34 headquarters staff of REDgroup Retail are being let go and the bankruptcy administrator said that the owner of Angus & Robertson and Borders stores in Australia will go out of business unless a buyer or buyers is found soon, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
A statement from the administrator, Ferrier and Hodgson, said it is "urgently seeking offers from potential buyers of all or part of the Angus & Robertson or Borders networks."
The Morning Herald said that the time frame for such a decision "could be between one month and six weeks."
Late last week, the South Carolina Senate approved a measure that will not require Amazon to collect sales taxes on purchases by state residents, but the company will "have to include a clause on the confirmation e-mail for each purchase that the customer may owe the state sales tax. The e-mail must provide a link to the Department of Revenue. The company must also send customers a yearly tally of their purchases, either by mail or email, and specify they could owe the sales tax on their income tax return. The information will not be sent to the revenue agency," the Associated Press (via Businessweek) reported. In a unanimous vote, the Senate sent the amended deal back to the House, which had already approved a measure giving Amazon a five-year exemption from collecting sales tax.
Governor Nikki Haley called the move a step in the right direction, but said it "doesn't mean anything if they don't send those copies of those letters to the Department of Revenue so that they can actually enforce it. That's when we know there's true competitiveness all across the board again."
Paul Misener, Amazon's v-p of global public policy, said, "We're grateful to the Senate and House for deciding to bring new jobs and economic growth to South Carolina and we're especially grateful for the support this decision received from key legislators, as well as from local government officials, business leaders, and citizens throughout the state, especially in the Midlands."
In a statement, Amazon v-p Dave Clark announced that the company would resume construction on its distribution center in Lexington County as soon as the bill becomes law.
Attendance at BookExpo America last week, including BlogWorld, was 23,067. Excluding BlogWorld, whose participants were not included in last year's attendance figures, attendance was 21,664, down just 255, or 1.2%, from 21,919 in 2010. BEA emphasized that this year's slightly lower number reflected higher standards: the show "strategically vetted more attendee groups to improve the quality of those participating in BEA." One resulting major change: there were 500 fewer attendee authors this year, authors distinct from those appearing for signings, panels and other events.
Marlene Grippin plans to open the Written Word, "a creative, community-based and affordable bookstore" in Brush, Colo., in August, the Fort Morgan Times reported.
"I don't think you can have too many bookstores," said Grippin, adding that her shop "will have a bookstore aspect but people could also do art work, needle point, book clubs, guitar lessons--a community forum where people can get together and create (things)."
Here's a new, eyebrow-raising business model: Anthology New and Used Books, which opened in Scranton, Pa., in 2007 (Shelf Awareness, September 24, 2009), has teamed up with Pages & Places Book Festival, which had been an annual event in Scranton, to create Pages & Places at Anthology. The new operation will primarily be a place for literary events that will fulfill special orders through Amazon.com, according to the Wilkes Barre Times-Leader.
Anthology owner Paul Nardone has cleaned out most of the store's inventory--the majority of which were used books--and redesigned the space. The new operation has been open for two weeks and already hosted "well-received programs with an author, a poet, and the dean of Marywood University's School of Architecture," the Times-Leader wrote.
In April, Tom Ahern put Latitude 33, the Laguna Beach, Calif., bookstore he founded 15 years ago, up for sale because he needs to leave the business to take care of his wife, who is ill. According to the Coastline Pilot, Ahern met with 17 potential buyers but had no luck and thus is planning to close the store later this summer.
When he put the store up for sale, Ahern wrote: "I turn seventy this year and my wife's health problems require more attention than I can give while still running the store. I don't want to shut the doors: hopefully, a book lover or group of book lovers will take over and keep Latitude 33 running. I have the best staff ever: two former Barnes & Noble branch managers and three incredible book lovers. A new owner will be able to take over the portion of the space now occupied by Silver Images. There is a future for service-intensive independent bookstores, as the megastore chains decline. Much can be done to help Latitude 33 do even better, but recently, I have not had the time and energy to implement them."
A fire that struck Friday night "severely damaged" the Ben Franklin Bookstore, Worcester, Mass., the used and collectible bookstore that had been in the process of going out of business, the Worcester Telegram reported.
Owner Donald Reid and some staff members salvaged some books, but many are believed damaged by smoke and water. Sadly one of two cats in the store died and the other is missing. Firefighters had found a pile of burning books in the back of the store.
General independent bookstores in New Orleans "are finding ways to defy the dire forecasts of a decade ago and thrive," the Times-Picayune has found.
Maple Street Bookshop is adding two locations. Business at the Garden District Book Shop, aided by Groupon, has been "great the last few months," according to owner Britton Trice, and is up 20% over last year.
And Tom Lowenburg, co-owner of Octavia Books, commented: "Ten years ago, people were doubting the future of independent bookstores. We think that we've been vindicated. There's growing support and recognition for the value in what we do."
Book trailer of the day: Murder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy, and Escape from Tibet by Jonathan Green (PublicAffairs).
Great summer reads:
Yesterday NPR's Morning Edition featured "some of the books that our trusty independent booksellers are recommending for your summer reading pleasure." Featured guests on the segment were Lucia Silva of Portrait of a Bookstore, Studio City, Calif; Daniel Goldin of Boswell Book Co., Milwaukee, Wis.; and Rona Brinlee of the BookMark, Atlantic Beach, Fla.
The Christian Science Monitor recommended "11 excellent novels for summer reading," noting that whether "you're on the beach, in the airport, or staying in your own backyard, there's nothing like the perfect novel to round out your summer vacation."
Flavorpill highlighted its "10 Most Anticipated Summer Reads."
Amazon's recent announcement of its "most well-read cities in America" list (Shelf Awareness, May 27, 2011) prompted a number of responses, including Flavorwire, which took "the top ten in reverse chronological order and created a list of books that are based in each city to create a virtual, literary tour for your reading pleasure."
The Christian Science Monitor observed that a "similar list released by Amazon in February 2010 ranked the 'Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in America.' The two lists varied by only two cities.... Which raises the question: Do these lists prove anything other than the fact that Amazon has a heavy customer base in these cities?... What it seems that Amazon has really managed to measure is the affluence of each city, which makes a lot of sense if you're a retailer. But is there really any point in labeling these cities 'well-read' and 'romantic'? Why not just call a spade a spade and say that these cities have money--and like to spend it online?"
Joyland suggested "250 books by women all men should read."
From the "literally unbelievable" department, the Daily What showcased a Tumblr "dedicated to Facebook posts from confoundingly credulous individuals who somehow managed to avoid arriving at the clear-as-day conclusion that The Onion is satire." Case in point: an Onion story headlined "Final Minutes of Last Harry Potter Movie to Be Split into Seven Separate Films."