Mike Edwards, who had been serving as interim CEO of Borders since January, has been appointed president of Borders Group and president and CEO of Borders, Inc. Edwards joined the company in September 2009 as executive v-p and chief merchandising officer.
Edwards will report to Bennett LeBow, chairman of the Borders Group board of directors who will serve as CEO of Borders Group. LeBow, who recently made an equity investment of $25 million in Borders through an entity he controls, is chairman of the board of Vector Group, a company he's been affiliated with since 1986.
What does this mean for Borders?
First of all, Wall Street hasn't been wowed by the LeBow change. Although the share price closed up 10 cents at $1.67 yesterday, Borders stock is closer to its low for the last year--85 cents--than its high of $4.48. The company's market capitalization is slightly under $100 million.
As for LeBow's background and approach to business, a recent Daily Finance piece calls the Vector Group chairman "a renowned corporate raider" whose history occasionally has involved hostile takeover attempts of competitors, something that should make Borders and B&N shareholders nervous.
Employees might also be wary. Daily Finance continued: "Turning the company around will almost certainly result in 'streamlining'--layoffs, store closings, massive asset selloffs," things the company has been doing already for some time.
June is Audiobook Month, and to celebrate the Audio Publishers Association is bringing together
more than 100 authors and narrators to discuss audiobooks during the
month on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and at bookstores.
Tuesday in June, beginning two days ago, as part of AudiobookCommunity.com's Get Caught Listening group,
APA publisher members are giving away audiobook segments that listeners
can stream or download as MP3 files.
One example, as noted by Entertainment Weekly: David Sedaris's
promos recorded for National Audiobook Month extol "the virtues of
audiobooks, actor and narrator Dylan Baker, and Sam Lipsyte's
trenchantly hilarious novel, The Ask."
author Jennifer Egan is being interviewed by more than 25 radio stations
across the country about audiobooks. She will discuss, among other
things, how audiobooks make the daily commute more entertaining and
"Within five years there will be more digital content sold than physical content," Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading business division, told the Telegraph. "Three years ago, I said within ten years but I realised that was wrong--it's within five."
Haber observed that the same patterns Sony has experienced in the digitization of music and photography were now being repeated in the book market, the Telegraph wrote. "I have multiple meetings with publishers and tell them paradigm shifts happen," Haber added. "You can say fortunately or unfortunately you haven't had a paradigm shift in, what, hundreds of years. We in the consumer electronics area have a paradigm shift every year or two."
He also foresees reader flexibility: "You have your multifunction devices--like a tablet--that are available for reading and then you'll have devices that are immersive. People will choose different devices for different experiences."
One sign the e-book trend is gaining serious steam: First-week sales for the e-book version of Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest accounted for nearly 30% of total sales, according to Publishers Marketplace (via Teleread.com), which reported that "Knopf Doubleday spokesman Paul Bogaards says their internal figures show an approximate first week sell-through of 425,000 units--which includes 125,000 e-book editions."
Author Brunonia Barry (The Lace Reader) celebrated her favorite bookshop, the Spirit of ’76, Marblehead, Mass., in a post at the blog She Is Too Fond of Books.
"This is the kind of store where the staff learns your tastes and often puts a book or two aside for you," she wrote. " They also know when to stretch your reading horizons, suggesting books you’ll love but might never have found on your own. The manager, Hilary Emerson Lay, is a treasure. A visual artist and writer who adores books, Hilary creates beautiful sock puppets which she occasionally sells at the store and of which we have purchased several over the years as gifts for just about everyone we know. One of them is sitting on my desk as I write this, a short red-headed geeky looking puppet that bears a disturbing resemblance to me."
Barry also praised the bookstore as a place with a real sense of community, and noted that it was through her connections there that she began utilizing book clubs as early readers of her work.
"I think the synergy between booksellers and book clubs is a strong one, and nowhere is it stronger than at The Spirit of ’76," Barry observed. "The fact that they are also supportive of local writers played a huge part in what was to become a great success and ultimately fulfill my dream of being a full time writer. And when my second book, The Map of True Places, came out this May, The Spirit of ’76 was right there to celebrate by hosting a great event."
Barefoot Books, the independent children's publisher with offices in Cambridge, Mass. and Bath, England, has moved its flagship bookstore in Cambridge to a new location in Concord, the Boston Globe reported.
Nancy Traversy, Barefoot's co-founder and CEO, hopes the new bookshop, located at 89 Thoreau Street, "will become a destination for locals and visitors as a colorful and happy place for families and friends to spend time together having fun and sharing stories."
Old Books, Wilmington, N.C., a used bookstore that was closed January 12 when city officials condemned its structure due to a shifting foundation, has found a new home. The Star reported that owner Gwenyfar Rohler's family purchased a storefront at 249 N. Front Street.
"We got a great deal on the building. We are estimating about three months of work, and hope to be open by Labor Day Weekend," Rohler said, adding, "We would not have sustained this battle if it were not for the amazing support of this community. Thank you for making Wilmington the best place on earth to live and own a small family operated bookstore."
The Brooklyn Book Festival, scheduled for September 12, has released a preliminary list of authors who will appear at the annual free public celebration of literature.
OnlineDegrees.org featured the Top 25 Librarian Blogs.