Even though Barnes & Noble likes to brag about how wonderfully they're doing, the cost-cutting bug hasn't skipped over. Here Publishers Weekly discusses the impact on small presses of B&N's recent layoff of some four dozen staffers, including several long-time buyers and merchandisers which include the company's director of small press and vendor relationships. Holding to the truism that companies don't like to mayke announcements of bad news, there is no B&N release on the layoffs, their latest is to wax enthusiastic about periodical sales for the Nook.
The news from Borders is that publishers are supposed to indicate next week if they will trade their accounts receivable for a promissory note. And there were more layoffs at HQ. They raised some cash by selling their Day by Day calendar kiosk business to Calendar Club. Can't be much, though, because the kiosks are a seasonal business, and the business can't be much more than selling the rolodex of contacts to talk to about leasing space next year. Somebody I know who works at a Borders says they're on skeleton staff and still supposed to take out 80 more hours from the store payroll, and there's a big push to sell the Borders Rewards membership upgrades. I wish this process wasn't dragging on so long, annoying customers, employees, publishers, pretty much all of the so-called "stakeholders" as Whole Foods likes to call them. I suspect there are some ego issues involved. The very rich Bennett Lebow doesn't want to admit he made a mistake putting money into Borders last spring. Nor does the very rich and often full of dumb ideas William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital. They have too much at stake in a Chapter 11 filing, they're not afraid to have collateral damage in trying to avoid the filing. They're rich enough they can lean on a bank to refinance Borders, but the bank has to do something to make it seem like there's a good reason to put cash into the business hence the hard sell on the fig leaf of having the publishers share in the sacrifice. So it drags on.
The Queens Public Library is no longer buying books. They decided it was more important to keep staff and hours at the branches then to buy books to put into said branches, so until their funding renews maybe in July they've put a stake in the book buying budget. Ain't that cheery!
- The Brillig Blogger
- A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.