Notes: Borders Sale in Oz O.K.; Bookstore Passages
After delaying a decision several times last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced today that it does not oppose the sale of Borders's Australian operations to Pacific Equity Partners, the private equity firm that owns A&R Whitcoulls Group, Reuters reported. Because A&R Whitcoulls operates 182 Angus & Robertson stores in Australia, there was some concern that consumers would be adversely affected. In essence, the commission found that there is enough competition in book retailing to mitigate any anticompetitive results of the sale, part of Borders's divestment of many of its international properties.
One concern of the ACCC, according to Bookseller & Publisher Magazine's Weekly Book Newsletter, was that A&R prices many of its books above suggested retail and might do away with some of Borders's discounts. But the commission noted that Borders also sells some titles above retail price, and other stores "will be in a position to highlight their lower prices and win customers from Borders and Angus & Robertson if they attempt to increase prices further."
After 37 years in business, Amazon Bookstore Cooperative, Minneapolis, Minn., is for sale. The Pioneer Press reported that Barb Wieser, general manager for 21 years, is leaving and "none of the staff are in a position to take it over . . . so the cooperative members have decided to sell. They hope to find a buyer by this summer who will carry on the vision of the store or recreate it into a vision of their own."
The Bookshop in Venice, Fla., is closing later this month, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.
Jenn Hardacre, who has managed the store for her parents, store owners Ron and Nancy Garland, said that the couple are closing the Bookshop for personal reasons, adding that chains and Amazon made it hard to compete.
She and her parents "didn't know anything about the book business," when they bought the store, Hardacre said. As a result, Hardacre and her mother went to industry conferences to find out more about the business and "learned by trial and error."
On Wednesday, February 27, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., wholesaler BookStream, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is hosting an event for booksellers in East Hartford, Conn. Called TitleWave, the event features a lunch with three authors as well as presentations of new titles and handselling tips from BookStream staff. Booksellers will be invited to share their favorite reads and bestselling titles. The authors participating in the launch are: Steve Toltz, author of Fraction of the Whole (Spiegel & Grau); Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound (Algonquin); and Richard Price, author of Lush Life (FSG).
For more information, contact sales rep Carolyn Bennett at 845-790-7807 or email@example.com. or Jessica Stockton Bagnulo at 917-539-0186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vietnamese booksellers expressed doubt regarding the country's recent fourth-place Nielsen ranking for most books sold on the Internet, according to Viet Nam News. In the survey of 26,312 people from 48 countries, only South Korea, Germany and Austria were ranked higher (Shelf Awareness, January 29, 2008).
But Nguyen Viet Hien, director of the IT department at HCM City’s Books Distribution Company, argued that the amount of books that company sold online "accounted for only one-fiftieth of their entire sales."
"There are many reasons for this, but the main obstacles remain methods of payment and delivery," he said. "The results from the Nielsen Company are just from one angle of the issue. It's OK if someone wants to be optimistic."
And Nguyen Thanh Van An, director of Vinabook.com--which VNN called "the biggest online book supplier in Viet Nam"--said, "The survey may have focused only on white-collar staff, which does not reflect the reality of online book trading in Viet Nam."