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Borders’ new strategy

May 11, 2009

The Question: How does a book become a hit?

At a time when book sales are down nationally, no company has been harder hit than Borders. The bookstore chain is struggling to compete with Barnes & Noble, online merchants like Amazon, and the success that big box stores like Costco and Wal-Mart have had with marketing highly-discounted best sellers. To compete, Borders is trying to adopt a new strategy focused on turning paperback books into hits:

In January, soon after CEO Ron Marshall was hired, Borders began an independent-style strategy on a superstore scale. With thousands of titles from which to choose, the idea was to select a few works favored by Borders national sales officials and promote them nationwide in the spirit of a local seller, from prominent placement to personally advocating (“hand-selling”) books in the stores.

So far, the Borders strategy has focused on four new paperbacks titles, and publishers are crediting the company with helping to turn those books into major sellers.

Update: I misread the original piece. Only two of the books Borders has chosen to promote are paperbacks. The other two are new releases in hardcover.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Richard permalink
    May 11, 2009 2:40 pm

    You might want to do some more research. Only two of the four titles are paperback, the other two are hardcover new releases.

    • May 11, 2009 3:03 pm

      Richard — you’re totally right. I misread, but I think the central point remains interesting — that Borders is tapping great costumer service (expertise, even) as a model for being profitable again.


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