It's not April Fool's day yet, but here's a story that sounds suitable: Borders Group wants the bankruptcy court's permission to enact plans that would pay executives and managers $8.3 million in bonuses to keep them aboard until either the company's reorganization plan is approved or the company is sold, according to the Wall Street Journal. The incentives will not be given if the company is liquidated; they will not apply to 2010 results (!).
Under one incentive plan, some 17 executives would receive up to $7.1 million--and the top five would receive 90% to 150% of their base salaries. CEO Mike Edwards could receive as much as $1.7 million. Another plan would provide up to $1.2 million for 25 "director-level" managers.
Borders said that 70% of the executives included in the larger incentive plan joined Borders in the last 18 months, and many of them within the last year.
In other Borders news, the company has decided not to close its distribution center in LaVergne, Tenn., whose closing it had announced in January (Shelf Awareness, January 12, 2011), according to the Nashville Business Journal. Instead the company will close its Carlisle, Pa., DC. It will also keep its DC in Mira Loma, Calif.
"This is the most efficient choice in light of our reorganization and the footprint of our overall store base," Borders spokesperson Mary Davis told the paper.
For the month of May and perhaps two weeks longer, Fleeting Pages, a "pop-up book emporium of reading, making, and window licking," will fill a closed Borders store in Pittsburgh, Pa., with "independent and self-published work of all kinds, book arts, workshops, events" and more.
According to the website, Fleeting Pages will have three sections--a retail bookstore, workshops and group works, as well as event space--and possibly a café, "if we able to outfit the gutted café to make it legal again." After the lease runs out, Fleeting Pages may move elsewhere in the Pittsburgh area or go on the road to another city.
On the FAQ page, Fleeting Pages wrote that the pop-up book emporium is not intended as a model for all future bookstores. "There are a lot of great bookstores out there who do what they do really well and have a local population that both appreciates and supports them. There are a lot of people in the publishing industry with ideas based on their experience. And there are a lot of consumers who know what they would like in a bookstore that would make shop there. Exploring all of those ideas about the future of the bookstore is something that we hope will happen during the month."
Thanks to Karen the Small Press Librarian for the tip!
The Turning Page, Old Lyme, Conn., is closing at the end of the month, the Day reported.
Owner Julie Griswold Kerop bought the store in 2005 when it was called the Happy Carrot Bookshop. She has been working in banking full-time, and her mother, Wendy Kerop, has managed the store. Wendy Kerop attributed the closing to the economy and said, "Our base clientele is very distressed."
In business nearly 40 years, Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis, Ore., continues to change and refine its business plan.
As outlined in the Corvallis Gazette Times, the store's staff of six aims to know a customer's reading preferences by the time the customer has visited the third time. Grass Roots wants to promote the physical features of books such as covers and typefaces. "We want people to be drawn to books," co-owner Jack Wolcott said. "To physically crave holding a book in their hands." Wolcott also wants to draw younger customers by making displays "more engaging."
On Friday, WNYC's and PRI's Studio 360 looked at "how some independent bookstores plan to survive," and talked with, among others, Chuck Robinson, co-owner of Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., and visited the Housing Works Bookstore Café in New York City.
Cool idea of the day: the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association is creating a Bookseller Temp Agency:
"There are many experienced booksellers in the region. Most would love
more hours of bookselling and the opportunity to experience another
store close by. Or possibly you know someone who isn't working in the
store anymore, but could use some temporary work? Bookstores are always
in need of temporary help during events, staff vacations, and to attend
NAIBA and ABA professional events."
NAIBA plans to compile a list
of booksellers who are available to work temporarily at stores across
the region, as well as staff members at publishers who "have bookselling
experience, and would like to keep your bookselling skills fresh."
Obituary note: fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones, best known for Howl's Moving Castle, died on Saturday in Bristol, England. She was 76. On Twitter, Neil Gaiman
wrote: "Rest in Peace, Diana Wynne Jones. You shone like a star. The
funniest, wisest writer & the finest friend. I miss you."
Jones won two Boston Globe-Horn Book Award honors, the
British Fantasy Society's Karl Edward Wagner Award for having a
significant impact on fantasy and the Life Achievement Award from the
World Fantasy Convention. Hayao Miyazaki adapted Howl's Moving Castle into a movie. Greenwillow Books will publish her Earwig and the Witch with illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky next February.
"A funny thing happened on my way to becoming a dedicated e-reader," Paul LaRosa wrote in the Huffington Post. "I wound up falling back in love with a couple of small, independent bookstores in my home borough of Brooklyn."
The true objects of his reader affections are Greenlight Books,
which "could not be a nicer, homier bookstore, carrying a lot of
independent publishers and writers who are not household names," and BookCourt, "the very ideal of a small independent bookstore with staff picks and a knowledgeable staff."
started thinking, man," LaRosa observed. "I like these people and what
they stand for, and I'd really hate for these two bookstores to go out
of business.... And I am afraid that will happen if we all flock to
e-readers. Yes, we're gaining some convenience, maybe, but what are we
losing? And are we prepared for that? I'm not."
Imagine "if records were books."
In the Telegraph, Iain Hollingshead offered "Not the 50 books you must read before you die." No. 1 is Ulysses by James Joyce, which he summed up this way: "Only a 'modern classic' could condense one man's day into an experimental epic that takes years to plough through. If the early description of the protagonist going to the lavatory doesn't make your eyes swim, the final 40 pages, untroubled by punctuation, will."
Book trailer of the day: The Nature Principle by Richard Louv (Algonquin), in which the author posits that the more high tech we become, the more nature we need.
Nancy Fish has joined Cleis Press/Viva Editions as marketing and publicity manager. She has worked at Addison Wesley, HarperCollins and Perseus Books as well as the Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., where she was marketing manager, and the New England Independent Booksellers Association, where she was assistant executive director.