Addendum [August 31, 2010]
One day after receiving the above mentioned email, I read several articles that don't bode well for the big book store chains.
- Although it was announced over a year ago, it looks like Borders, too, is following through on its promise to reserve more floor space for toys. Following in B&Ns footsteps Borders released this statement: "Families shopping for books, CDs, and DVDs for children at Borders can also now enjoy newly expanded toys and games sections in over 500 superstores across the United States...." And yesterday, from Bloomberg, came this little nugget, "Borders Group Inc., the second- largest U.S. bookstore chain, will start selling items from Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc., relying less on books for sales as more people use electronic reading devices."
- Speaking of "electronic reading devices" - Borders announced a price cut in its Kobo reader, further fueling the e-reader pricing war that was heating up between B&N and Amazon. CNET reports today that "Effective immediately, the Kobo eReader will retail for $129 (a $20 reduction), and the Aluratek Libre will cost $99.99 (down from $119). Both devices can be used to read books from Borders e-book store (which, in turn, is powered by Kobo)." Borders, like B&N, plans to set up and sell eReaders and eBooks in their stores. Bloomsberg reports that "Next month the book retailer also plans to open departments that will sell as many as six digital book readers... these areas will have seating for shoppers to test the products." It seems now that printed book sales are plummeting, brick and mortar stores are trying to fill up their retail space with whatever can keep them afloat...
- Perhaps not fast enough though. Two big announcements this week are the closing of a major Borders store in San Francisco, and the closing of the "massive" Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Center in New York. The New York Daily News sums it up, "In a blow for book lovers, Barnes & Noble will close its store near Lincoln Center and its chief rival plans to start selling Build-A-Bear kits to stay in business.
The double dose of bad news comes as the bookselling industry sees fewer customers browsing the aisles and more shopping and reading online."