Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Borders launches e-bookstore … finally


bgp1Check out Borders Group finally launching its e-bookstore.

The No. 2 U.S. bookstore chain’s electronic bookstore comes nine months after rival Barnes & Noble debuted its Nook e-reader and three months after Apple introduced its popular iPad tablet computer, allowing both companies, and, which sells the Kindle e-reader, to get a head start.

No worries, says Borders, which saw sales at its namesake superstores open at least a year and on its website fall 11.4 percent in the first quarter.

“We’ll take market share just by turning it on,” said Mike Edwards, president of Borders Inc, the company’s main operating business.

Edwards said Borders had data and email addresses for the 38 million customers in its loyalty program and about 700 stores at which to promote its virtual bookstore, which will help it catch up. The company’s goal is to secure a 17 percent share of the e-book market by July 2011.

Check Out Line: Why buy when you can rent?


barnesCheck out Barnes & Noble College Booksellers expanding its college textbook rental program.

The bookseller began testing a book rental program in 3 of its 636 campus bookstores at the start of the Fall semester. After what it called a “tremendous response” to the program, it has rolled it out to 25 campus bookstores, including The Ohio State University and The University of Maryland, and has plans to expand it further in coming months.

A “very, very desirable” tenant says will open fewer stores


barnesnoble.jpgBarnes & Nobles expects to open 20 to 25 new stores in 2009 — down from 30 to 35 store openings this year.
It’s not that the company wants to open fewer stores, according to  Barnes & Noble Chief Executive Joseph Lombardi.

While the bookseller is taking advantage of favorable deals with existing landlords, it said the U.S. housing crisis and credit crunch mean that developers are not able to finance as many new projects  — leading to fewer opportunities for Barnes & Noble to open stores in new shopping centers.