Sunday, July 24, 2011

What the Closing of Borders Means for Authors

As you probably know, Borders filed for bankruptcy-court protection in February. Since there were no buyers and they didn’t want a bankruptcy-court auction, Borders is now forced to liquidate. The U.S.’s second largest bookstore chain will close their 399 stores by the end of September. This not only means that 10,700 people will be out of work, but that literally miles of bookshelf space will be gone. This is bad news for authors on many levels. For instance, bookstore employees were often the ones who recommended books to customers, and if they’re no longer there to talk up your book who will?

Borders blames their troubles on the rising popularity of e-book sales, a turbulent economy, and on publishers who refused to allow them to pay their bills later. Whether this was a wise strategy on the publishers’ part is hard to say. Publishers need income to keep their companies going, but now there is one less chain to carry their books. With far fewer opportunities for readers to browse in a physical store, and other online stores will likely see a boost in business. So, is this a sign of things to come for other chains? To read more in an article from The Wall Street Journal go to

There’s also an article in The New York Times you can find at

On a related note, author Kristine Kathryn Rusch posted news that Barnes & Noble plans to substantially cut the number of paperbacks they carry to add more games and toys to their stock. They are expected to start massive returns of books to publishers soon, which again is bad news for publishers and authors. Authors’ royalty checks will be smaller than normal for the third quarter of this year. As bookshelf space shrinks, print runs will be smaller in future; incomes and careers will suffer. Publishers might be less inclined to take on new writers than they were before. Some publishers won’t survive.

Hold onto your hat folks, the next few months are going to get pretty bumpy for some. We’ve all been through tough times before, but this doesn’t make the news any more welcome. You can find Rusch’s blog at

THE OPPOSITE OF DARK,, Chapters/Indigo

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