As The Wall Street Journal reported it would this morning, Borders Group Inc. announced today that it will reduce its presence overseas and close almost half of its Waldenbooks stores. Borders will also launch a new online effort in 2008, when its current deal with online retail giant Amazon.com, inked in 2001, ends.
As WSJ reports, sales at U.S. bookstores fell 2.9% last year while book sales online now make up 13% of the book market, compared to 2% in 1998. Sales at Waldenbooks fell 6.3% during last holiday season, while they were down 1.9% the Borders super stores.
Reuters reports that “some industry analysts” think the struggles that both Borders and its main competitor Barnes & Noble are facing could result in a merger or buy-out between out. For
Michael Cairns has more commentary on Borders’ new strategy.
Rapper 50 Cent is the co-author and publisher of a trilogy of so-called street lit books, riding the genre’s wave of success, according to Los Angeles Times. The newspaper describes the genre:
Reading like a mash-up of Quentin Tarantino movies and N.W.A lyrics, Danielle Steel-esque sexploits and gritty urban verite a la HBO’s crime drama “The Wire,” the category has been responsible for millions of book sales each year. The books, which retail for about $12, have stayed off most bestseller lists, however, thanks to a quirk in the way those lists are compiled: They do not tally books sold at street vendors, mall outlets or music stores, where street lit sales are strong.
The genre overlaps with hard-core hip-hop, similarly glorifying gun violence, drug dealing, pimp-ho identity politics and porn-worthy sex - sometimes all within the space of a single page.