Notes: Ackerman's Amazon Dream; Loonie Craziness
William Ackerman, whose hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management
is the single-largest shareholder in Borders Group, owning about 30% of
the company, suggested yesterday that Amazon.com should buy Borders,
according to the Associated Press.
"Amazon could buy the company for about $400 million to get those locations that would take more than $1 billion to build," he said. "You have to think of it like how Apple has retail stores across the country." He added that Amazon is likely to lose the advantage it had of not collecting sales taxes in many states--making retail locations more attractive.
Borders put itself up for sale earlier this year. Ackerman said he had no knowledge of whether or not Amazon had approached Borders.
Although the U.S. and Canadian dollars have had about the same value for a year, Canadian consumers are still paying up to 18% more than Americans for the same products, a Bank of Montreal study, as reported by the Hamilton Spectator, found. Consumer groups have blamed retailers.
Books were again cited as an example of an "overpriced" product. In response, Indigo Books & Music issued a statement yesterday saying that it has "aggressively challenged our publishing partners to reduce prices to reflect the strong Canadian dollar. Over 50,000 books have gone through a price reduction of up to 30 per cent. . . . We're continuing to work with Canadian publishers on a long-term solution that delivers the best possible price to our customers without undermining the viability of the Canadian publishing business, which is critical in supporting Canadian authors and content."
J.K. Rowling's "storycard" prequel to the Harry Potter series, which sold for £25,000 (US$48,910) at a charity auction this week, is now available for viewing online at Waterstone's website, along with contributions by 12 other authors.
Hira Digpal, president of Tokyo investment-banking consulting company Red-33, was the high bidder for Rowling's story. Bloomberg News reported that "Digpal, who originally had a closed bid of 50,000 pounds before halving his offer, said he faxed a letter to Rowling's publisher asking for the author's cooperation to use the story in a way that would raise more money for charity. He declined to give details of the proposal."
The Guardian reported that a total of £47,150 (US$92,120) was raised from the 13 storycards. Margaret Atwood, appearing at the ceremony through a video link with Paris, handwrote her storycard "live" using her LongPen device. The card ultimately sold for £1,600.
Nick Hornby's funny contribution, "Notes on a graphic novel called Nightburner"--which imagines Queen Elizabeth as a superhero--went for £1,400. Hornby ponders an age-old dilemma: "Was life all about sex? Or memory? Sex? No. Memory? Maybe. There was so much missing. The middle you might call it."
---The Salt Lake Tribune featured "great Father's Day books for dads who like to cook."
Tonight at 6:30, the next program in the New York Center for Independent Publishing's Emerging Voices Series focuses on Europa Editions. The panel includes Kent Carroll, former editor-in-chief at Grove Press and founder and publisher of Carroll & Graf; Michele Zackheim, author of Violette's Embrace and Einstein's Daughter, who will read from her newest novel, Broken Colors (Europa Editions); and Ann Goldstein, an editor at the New Yorker and winner of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award who has translated several novels by Elena Ferrante, including The Days of Abandonment (Europa Editions), which spent almost a year on Italian bestseller lists.
The Center is located at 20 W. 44th Street in New York City. For more information and to reserve space, go to nycip.org or call 212-764-7021.