By Dana Kaye
For those of you who tune out all financial news, don’t have a twitter account, and don’t read any publishing blogs (except this one of course) Borders is considering buying out B&N.
Now that we’re all up to date, I know I’m not the only one who sees how ridiculous this is. Merging two struggling companies with bad business plans will not create one successful company. In fact, I see it as the end to both big chains, creating a world where indies rule all…
But that’s not what I want to talk about.
In an alternative universe where this would work, where every B&N and Borders would suddenly become Barnes & Borders or BB&N, what would that mean for authors and consumers?
The first thing that would happen is that the consumer would have fewer options, which usually leads to higher prices. Right now, B&N and Borders compete with each other. B&N has a member program, Borders has rewards, B&N has 30-40% off many new hardcovers, Borders has buy 2 get 1 free, etc. If they merged, there would be less incentive for them to keep lowering prices.
For authors, it means less distribution options. How many of your books were available at Borders, but not B&N (or vice versa)? That’s because, for whatever reason, one of the buyers wasn’t interested or didn’t see it as a bestseller. Thank goodness decisions like that don’t only fall on one person and you have other options…oh, wait…
If there is only one big-box chain, your chances for not making the cut increase dramatically. How would you feel telling people your book was only available at certain independent bookstores and on Amazon.com?
While it’s still too early to tell how this is all going to play out, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that these corporations reach a different conclusion.
What are your thoughts on this potential merger? How would it affect you as a reader? As an author?