Borders, the big box book superstore, is trying something new. They're displaying nearly all of their books face out rather than spine out. While this makes the books easier to see without tilting your head to the right, it takes up quite a bit more space than the old spine-out method. And it means room for fewer books.
photo copyright jblyberg
Borders is rather proud of this innovation. They're stocking about 20% fewer (or 10% or 30% -- I've read various estimates) books by displaying books face out, but claim that their book sales are up. They say Borders needs to compete with Wal*Mart and Costco. Brilliant. How many titles do Wal*Mart and Costco carry? A hundred? How many titles does Borders carry? About 150,000.
In related news, The Motley Fool, the personal investing website, is recommending you sell your Barnes & Noble stock. They're assuming you've already sold your Borders stock. In an article called Throw This Stock Away, the author writes that superstore chains like Barnes & Noble and Borders (NYSE: BGP) have become irrelevant. He suggests that investors replace their big box bookstore stocks with Amazon and Google.
What about the Motley Fool's recommendation to buy Amazon? Here's what Amazon is up to today. They are selling new biographies of Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain for their ebook reader, the Kindle. The Michelle Obama bio won't be ready for print publication until late November and the Cindy McCain bio will only be published in print if John McCain wins in November. But you can buy, download, and read the Kindle versions today.
If we were going to invest in any book-related company at the moment (which we aren't), guess which one it would be?