But alas and alack, faithful readers, it's not all sunshine and lollipops in the land of publishing. As you by now surely know, Borders is (still) in trouble.
On the last day of 2010, BGP announced it would be delaying payments to vendors (i.e. not paying publishers for books). This caused some publishers to stop shipping them books, and Borders' stock tumbled (insofar as one can tumble from under a dollar per share) as a result. After a low of $0.83/share, it's trading at heavy volume at a shaky $0.88/share. Borders' market capitalization hasn't budged much from $60 million (that's "million" with an "m"). For reference, Barnes & Nobles' (BKS) is $930 million and Amazon's (AMZN) is $82 billion ($82 thousand million).
After two top executives resigned, Borders management traveled to New York City for a meeting with major vendors, which (one assumes) included the Big Six publishers that comprise Borders' largest source of books (and therefore income). Borders is apparently asking publishers to convert delayed payments into interest-bearing debt while simultaneously trying to renegotiate their loans with GE Capital and Jefferies Group. In short: they're out of cash and trying to find a way to keep the doors open and the lights on.
With staff apparently being advised to seek employment elsewhere, however, I don't think that's going to be much longer. In my opinion, Borders will be lucky to survive the month, much less the first quarter. They're strapped for cash and straining their relationships with suppliers, and it would be the understatement of the year (granted, it's early yet) to say they're poorly positioned for the ongoing digital shift in publishing: their website is inferior to their competitors', their continous couponing and deep discounts don't seem to be slowing the decline in their sales, and without a dedicated e-reader, they're nowhere near in league with the Kindle or the Nook.
That said, gentle readers, I'm afraid (barring divine intervention or acquisition by another company) Borders is more or less finished. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and (to a lesser extent) Apple will be left to determine the future of publishing when the dust from BGP's fall clears. I can only hope some of those empty storefronts become independent book stores.
What about you, meine Autoren? How would the demise of Borders affect you and your reading habits?