Putting the impending closing of the flagship Cody's Books store in Berkeley, Calif., in perspective, the San Francisco Chronicle
discusses the difficult business environment on Telegraph Avenue,
"where the commercial vacancy rate is approaching 15% and last year's
sales tax receipts were 30% below what they were in 1990 when adjusted
Among the problems, according to the paper, Internet competition for
"two staples of Telegraph Avenue," books and music; the university's
increasing retail and food options for students; a dated identity; and
the large homeless population.
Still, some are optimistic. Doris Moskowitz, owner of Moe's Books, as
much a bookstore institution on Telegraph Avenue as Cody's,
acknowledged "serious blight" but told the paper, "I believe the
neighborhood is just about to turn around."
Borders and Chase are introducing the Borders 3-2-1 Visa card, an
"enhanced" version of the Borders VISA card that awards card members
three points for every dollar spent at Borders or Waldenbooks; two
points for each dollar spent at certain gas stations, restaurants and grocery
stores; and one point for all other purchases. There is no annual
fee for the card.
Besides using points for Borders gift cards, members can redeem points
for checks or gift cards at other companies, including airlines.
Members of Borders Rewards who use the card get credit for their
purchases through both programs. Borders Rewards members can have their
Rewards number embossed on the 3-2-1 Visa card so that they can use
only one card when making purchases.
Only last month, Barnes & Noble introduced the B&N Member MasterCard (Shelf Awareness
, April 19
which gives members of B&N's loyalty program rebates on most
purchases at B&N and B&N.com and points on purchases at other
Some booksellers are not at all unhappy with the news from Bowker (see its press release
that U.S. title output in 2005 decreased by more than 18,000 to 172,000
new titles and editions, marking the first decline in U.S. title output
since 1999. It's also only the 10th time in the last 50 years that
output has decreased from one year to the next.
Gary Aiello, COO of Bowker, commented: "In 2005, publishers were more
cautious and disciplined when it came to their lists. We see that trend
continuing in 2006. The price of paper has already gone up twice this
year, and publishers, especially the small ones, will have to think
very carefully about what to publish."
Since 1995, new titles have increased 51% for all U.S.
publishers, 17% for the largest trade houses and 14% for university
presses. And last year, the industry had a record increase of more than
19,000 new books over the previous year.
Jim Nichols has been promoted to v-p of sales at Consortium Book Sales
& Distribution. Before joining the company as sales director five
years ago, he was associate sales director at Kodansha America. In his
new role, Nichols will take on more management duties, more closely
overseeing the Consortium sales force as well as in-house account managers
for Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon, Ingram, Baker & Taylor and
a new gift rep sales force.