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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.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Better Late Than Never

I recommended in the spring that Borders give the boot to CEO George L. Jones.  Well, today, after a dismal holiday season that saw same store sales plummet, it finally happened.  I wish it had happened sooner.  I've always tried to give Jones credit for some of the good things he did on his watch, like actively trying to fix the mall stores and pulling the plug on the costly store remodels that weren't accomplishing much.  The new concept store he rolled out is an interesting vision in some ways but it will be hard to get a read on its success.  And in the fall, Borders was much better positioned with Sookie Stackhouse books than B&N.  But...  you can't surprise the world as he did in March with the news that your company is running out of cash.  His efforts to streamline inventory have been a disaster.  Right now for all of the Charlaine Harris books they are selling a signification fraction of stores aren't slotted to carry the entire Lily Bard series.  The company is finally rolling out a major upgrade on its in-store employee software called Borders Atlas after 25 years with Alta Vista Title Look-Up.  But the sluggishness of their supply chain and replenishment systems compared to B&N has yet to be addressed in any major way.

But hey, become a Borders Rewards member, because those 40% off coupons are coming fast and furious.  And shop at Borders if you will, because we need a counterweight to B&N in the business, and Borders is the only choice we've got for that.  Books a Million isn't in the same league.

I don't know what to expect from the new guy, but I'm glad there's finally some change at the top.

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