If you've been one of the many circling the carcass of the Borders in Brentwood at its going-out-of-business sale (and, judging from the length of the lines, which are Christmas-length, you probably are), you may have observed this leaflet on the checkout counter:
This is not an act of corporate espionage, however. Well, not completely. The leaflets are there at the invitation of David Huffman, a Borders manager, who told Pudd'nhead Books' children's buyer Melissa Posten to bring them in.
Huffman worked at the now-defunct Library Limited, which sold out to Borders in the early 1990s. "He's either a disgruntled Borders employee," jokes Pudd'nhead owner Nikki Furrer, "or he's looking for a job. I don't know if we can afford him."
Pudd'nhead can, however, afford Borders' shelves, which Furrer has been buying up to furnish her new space in Webster Groves.
Furrer, along with her fellow local booksellers, is trying to lure former Borders customers before they decide to start doing their book-buying exclusively at Amazon.
Pudd'nhead, which competed with Borders on local school events, is hoping to corner the school sales market. Left Bank Books, meanwhile, has already received calls from book clubs who used to order their books through Borders and hold their meetings there.
As for Barnes & Noble, Borders' most obvious competitor: Daily RFT's phone calls for information about how their business is faring in the face of the enormous going-out-of-business sale have gone unreturned. B&N has, however, been in talks with Liberty Media for some time; originally Liberty Media was going to buy out the bookseller, but the Wall Street Journal reports that, due to financial constraints, Liberty's now talking about becoming an investor. Meanwhile, the Journal also reports that B&N's stock prices fell more than ten percent Wednesday.
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