Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Borders to name outsider as CEO

Borders will name George Jones, the former head of department store retailer Saks, as their new CEO. Jones is considered an innovator for making a lot of changes at Saks during his tenure, including the installation of manicure bars and putting greens. His appointment comes after Borders' current chief Greg Josefowicz announced his pending retirement earlier this year.

Hopefully Jones knows he's getting into a tough industry. Borders has done well recently but they missed expectations earlier this year. The chain still trails rival Barnes & Noble, which had about 690 superstores compared to around 500 for Borders as of a year ago (don't have the most recent figures).

Given his background at Saks, it will be interesting to see what changes Jones brings about to Borders' stores. Hopefully he'll keep in mind that that bookstores are currently sales channels fraught with risk for publishers. The average chain store carries over 100,000 titles, and returns of hardcover books often exceed 30%, making them a very uncertain channels for launching new books. (And 12% of Borders' revenue comes form music sales, so calling their stores "bookstores" might not even be accurate.)

Borders is a good partner for us and a giant in this industry, so on behalf of World Ahead and all the other publishers out there, I wish Jones the best of luck.



Post a Comment

<< Home