Borders Group and Pershing Square Capital Management, the bookseller's largest shareholder, are extending by a month the expiration date of Borders's option to sell its U.K. Paperchase gifts and stationery business to Pershing Square for $65 million. The option will now expire next February 16 instead of January 15.
At the same time, the deadline for Borders to repay Pershing Square's $42.5 million senior secured term loan has been moved to February 16 from January 15. However, the approximately $1 million loan repayment premium that Borders is required to pay Pershing upon repayment of the $42.5 million loan remains due no later than January 15.
The loan and sales option are part of the deals Borders announced earlier this year (Shelf Awareness, March 20, 2008) when it put itself and various international operations up for sale. Borders has since sold most of the international operations and has taken itself off the market.
In after-hours trading, Borders's shares fell 9.6% to 48 cents a share, according to Dow Jones.
Because some shoppers "are saving money this year by making their own presents or--for those who lack the time or talent--buying handmade gifts from others," a bright spot in retail sales this season is crafts, the New York Times reported. Chains such as Michaels Stores and indies report sales and traffic gains recently. A spokesperson for the Craft & Hobby Association said, "Across the country, people are crafting more. With the recession, people are looking for ways to save money, and doctors are recommending it as a major form of stress relief."
Michaels has responded by creating a marketing campaign called "Endless Creativity, Endless Savings" and setting up a website with how-to videos and weekly in-store workshops.
Jeanne Nevin, owner of Stampingly Yours, Clifton, N.J., told that paper that she has gained many new customers in the last few months. "It's because nobody has money" and because making a scrapbook is the kind of gift "they can keep forever."
Although the Man Group has some $360 million invested with Bernard Madoff--and has presumably lost it all--the company plans to continue sponsoring the Man Booker Prize, Bloomberg News reported. For Man Group, a hedge fund, the amount represents about 0.5% of assets managed.
The Taqwacores, a novel about "imaginary punk rock Muslims in Buffalo" by Michael Muhammad Knight that was originally self-published five years ago and is now published by Autonomedia, has become a Catcher in the Rye for young Muslims in the U.S. and helped create a subculture of Muslim punk, the New York Times reported.
One 14-year-old reader told the paper, "This book helped me create my identity."
An indie movie based on The Taqwacores has been filmed and will be released next year.
Cool Idea of the Day: The San Francisco Chronicle has added a feature in its Sunday Book Review called Top Shelf, consisting of recommendations of recent books by booksellers at Bay Area independent indies. The staffs contribute titles on a rotating basis, and each bookstore writes about five fiction and five nonfiction titles.
Working with Chronicle books editor John McMurtrie, who had the idea for the column, the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association has handled dealing with stores, soliciting lists, reviewing lists for duplication and checking on the timeliness of titles.
AbeBooks.com interviewed Dave Allen, who heads a bookbinding company in British Columbia, Canada. Allen practices "a highly skilled craft requiring enormous patience, concentration and knowledge. It is also a profession kept alive by a few dedicated bibliophiles like Allen."
"Locally owned mainstream stores irreplaceable" was the headline for an article in the Waterbury Republican American, which
observed that Fran Keilty, owner of the Hickory Stick Bookshop,
Washington Depot, Conn., "is in the local vanguard of a 'shop local
first' movement catching on around the country, not just in rural
areas, but city neighborhoods as well. Their motto is pragmatic. They
know residents may not find everything they need nearby, but at least
want them to try."
"Local retailers are your friends and neighbors," said Keilty. "Support them, and they'll support you."
The Atlanta Journal Constitution
reported that new, independent retailers in the region are experiencing
a "tough climate this season" and have concerns about the year ahead.
relocating last April to a larger space, Diane Capriola, co-owner of
Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga., said, "I feel very good about the
rest of this month. I don't know if we'd be doing well if we were
somewhere else. Now I'm thinking ahead to January and February--looking
beyond this, and not knowing.”
"It's never too late
to come up with a literary stocking stuffer, at least as long as your
neighborhood bookstore is open on Christmas Eve," noted the New York Observer as it recommended the offerings available at Melville House Publishing's bookshop in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Effective January 1, Eleanor Gore, better known as Elly, is retiring as children's book buyer at the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, Milwaukee, Wis., where she has worked since the early 1970s. Carol Grossmeyer, owner and president of Schwartz, said that with "Elly's knowledgeable guidance and boundless enthusiasm for children's literature, our children's book departments have grown to become one of the most vital areas of the shops. She has predicted the book award winners, worked with the publishers to plan in-store as well as out-of-store events and she has brought some of the country's best children's book authors to Milwaukee. Elly has strong personal and professional ties to the publishing world and is one of the most well respected children’s buyers in the industry."
Elly Gore may be reached via e-mail.
Mark Bide has been appointed executive director of EDItEUR, the international standards organization for books and serials, replacing Brian Green, who has managed EDItEUR since its founding in 1991. Green will now concentrate on his role as executive director of the International ISBN Agency, which will continue to be managed by EDItEUR.
Bide has worked in publishing for more than 35 years and is a director of Rightscom and will continue to work part time as a senior consultant to Rightscom.
Friedemann Weigel, managing partner at Harrassowitz subscription agents and chair of EDItEUR, said that Bide "will ensure that EDItEUR continues to be the focal point for enabling standards in both the digital and traditional environments." He also thanked Green for "taking a lead role in developing, maintaining and promoting standards such as the ONIX family that are now central to the operation of the supply chain."