Next Jump and Borders Group, which have fought over Borders's website and customer list, have reached an agreement whereby Next Jump will stop operating the website and purge its lists of Borders customers, Reuters said.
Borders is seeking to sell its intellectual property, including the website and customer lists, this week and had charged that Next Jump was directing Borders customers to its website and transferring their information, which would deflate the value of Borders intellectual property.
Borders said it will still seek damages from Next Jump.
In related news, Borders Group is requesting severance payments for executives that include $125,000 each to former president Mike Edwards, former CFO Scott Henry, executive v-p of store operations Jim Frering and senior v-p of human resources Rosalind Thompson, AnnArbor.com reported. Edwards and Henry were "voluntarily terminated" on July 29 but have been working "on a non-compensated basis" to help sell some store sites and Borders intellectual property. The payments are not the bonuses that had been proposed earlier.
As noted here yesterday, former Borders employee Jared Pinsker has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 300 headquarters employees, charging that they were not given required notice before they were let go.
U.K. bookstore chain W.H. Smith plans to eliminate the shelf label "women's fiction" after customers Claire Leigh and Julia Gillick appealed "in sisterhood" to company CEO Kate Swann, the Telegraph reported.
"It was very light, lots of pink fluffiness and there were no classic authors," said Gillick, an English teacher. After seeing the titles collected under the label at a branch in Kent, she wrote to customer complaints, but received no reply.
Then Leigh wrote directly to Swann and said they did not think of women as a "minority or niche area" and were "deeply offended by this condescending practice."
In the Observer, Viv Groskop supported the women's efforts, but suggested there is more to consider regarding the issue: "Unfortunately women's fiction is a genuine market. It's shorthand for most of commercial fiction: written by women for women. Some reckon that women buy up to 80% of fiction sold. Similarly, it is estimated that up to 70% of book groups are all-women affairs.
"Many of these readers see chick-lit (which is, I suspect, what W.H. Smith really means by women's fiction) as a handy indicator for 'stuff I like,' not the disparaging pigeonhole despised by many authors.... It's good to question silly, reductive labels. But it's also important to recognize the power of the shorthand of marketing. I doubt Julian Barnes, that famous men's fiction writer, would sniff at selling three times as many copies. Shall we vajazzle his next book jacket and find out?"
Congratulations to Highland Books, Brevard, N.C., where owners Peggy and Tim Hansen are celebrating their 35th anniversary in bookselling with an all-day party on Friday, September 16. Everything in the store will be discounted 20%, and there will be free gelato and other treats.
The Hansens bought the store in 1976 and have had "a very successful family business for 35 years now with no outside income or other business ventures," Peggy wrote. Her mother worked in the store for years; the Hansens' daughters grew up in the store; and two employees have worked there for 25 years. "People still remember seeing our daughter in a bassinet behind the counter (she's now 32!) and followed our other daughter as she traveled the world (she's 29)."
The 3,000-sq.-ft. has an informational website, a large children's department and many loyal customers. Amazon, e-readers and the economy have affected sales, but the store adapted by introducing some sidelines and continuing to be active in the community. "We're still doing pretty well," Peggy added.
Incidentally Highland Books' big anniversary parties have made for good business. On the 20th anniversary, for example, when all items were 20% off, the store did seven times its normal day's volume. But the community feeling was most important. "Customers brought plates of cookies, knowing we'd have a crowd to feed," Peggy said. They also brought flowers and sent notes, and the local newspaper published a story. "That's a small town for you."
The Book Bank, Largo, Fla., which sells new and used books, has moved across the street to the Piccadilly Square shopping plaza after operating in the Largo Mall for 19 years, the St. Petersburg Times reported.
Owner Amy Schmaedeke said that high rent led to the Book Bank's move to the smaller site. "We've scaled down, but we're more efficient because we don't keep books that are not wanted," Schmaedeke told the paper. She also aims to maintain the store's close ties to customers. "People like to come back to someplace that feels like home," she said. "They know us."
Sunday's New York Times offered a profile of an unusual bookstore: the United States Tennis Association Bookstore at the U.S. Open, which this year has moved from "two smallish booths near Court 10" to "a spacious new venue" inside the Chase Center across from Armstrong Stadium. With a little bit of wonder, the paper called it "a real bookstore, tennis-centric, to be sure, but with actual books to browse--printed words that aren't draw sheets or scoreboards."
In part because of the move, sales are up more than 50% over last year. "Who says bookstores are dying?" manager Rick Rennert said. "We're in the Chase Center, but I tell people we're the cultural center."
Rennert was hired by the U.S.T.A. 15 years ago. Besides running the bookstore during the Open, Rennert is in charge of the association's publishing division, which puts out the Open program, books and more. He had previously been a publisher and editor and was head of Chelsea House.
Last week the store hosted a signing by tennis coach Allen Fox of Tennis: Winning the Mental Match, and last year Andre Agassi signed several hundred copies of Open. This year's hot title is Rafa by Rafael Nadal. The store's most popular titles from year to year are "books on strategy, no-nonsense manuals that promise to lift your game." Spiritual-advice and children's titles are also popular.
Very funny book trailer of the day: Record Collecting for Girls: Unleashing Your Inner Music Nerd, One Album at a Time by Courtney E. Smith (Mariner Books).
As we noted last week, Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vt., lost telephone and Internet service, power and water for a few days but otherwise was unscathed after Hurricane Irene. Sadly, however, acquisitions editor Jon Graham's (r.) home--and his collection of thousands of books--was destroyed when water undermined the building's foundation.
When director of rights and publicity Cynthia Fowles saw him after the disaster, Graham's first words were, "I lost my suit for Frankfurt in the flood." The next day sales and marketing director John Hays rode to work on a dirt bike and brought a suit for Graham. (He hadn't known Graham had lost his Frankfurt suit, but knew that he would need a suit for the fair.) Fowles wrote to foreign rights agents who will be the show, "Check Jon Graham out at Frankfurt--he'll be in a fabulous suit!"
New words, old meanings. In the Telegraph, Sameer Rahim contended that "dictionaries shouldn't try to keep up with the online creative cacophony." Rahim observed the reason the Concise Oxford Dictionary and Chambers Dictionary "are truly invaluable is not because of the publicity-friendly words they have now included. It's because of their authority and reliability--and because amid the creative cacophony of the Internet they, as Samuel Johnson said, 'remove rubbish and clear obstructions from the path of genius and learning.' "
Book world headline of the week: "Sinkhole drunks leave librarian feeling down." In a Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece, author Andrew Daddo recalled a recent conversation with a South Australian librarian who was ''beyond gutted'' that a potential front-page article in the local paper about the library's National Book Week event for more than 2,000 kids was bumped because "two drunks got stuck down the bottom of the sinkhole out the front of the library and they had to be rescued.''