Press: Borders could have a buyer for 'half its stores'

<p>Borders UK may have a buyer lined up for around half of its 45 store portfolio, the <em>Guardian</em> reports. The national press has extensively covered yesterday&#39;s collapse of the bookseller. In its main leader column, the <em>Guardian</em> says &quot;the story of Borders encapsulates the good and bad aspects of British publishing and bookselling since the Net Book Agreement ended in 1997&quot;.</p><p>It said the good aspects were an &quot;affordable, exciting and welcoming&quot; market for book buyers. The bad is a contraction in diversity, reduction in review pages in newspapers and the difficulties for well-respected novelists to secure new book deals.</p><p><a href=" target="_blank" title=" <em>Times </em>raises the prospect that publishers may step in in the short term to prop up the business.</a> It said: &quot;Publishers may be willing to salvage some of the Borders chain in order to preserve an important, full-price route to market, one source suggested. However, such a move may face competition hurdles.&quot;</p><p><a href=" target="_blank" title=" <em>Daily Mail </em>quotes Booksellers Association chief executive Tim Godfray, who said: &quot;Twenty-first century bookselling is a complex business, and while undoubtedly Borders is going through a miserable time, our current data indicates that books remain a popular purchase at this time of year across a variety of outlets.&quot;</a></p><p><a href=" target="_blank" title=" <em>Independent </em>talks of a &quot;nightmare&quot; fortnight for the chain.</a> Boyd Tonkin writes that no-one can rejoice about the collapse of a 45 store strong retail outlet. He says: &quot;In spite of Borders&#39; very 1990s preference for showcasing chart DVDs, glossy mags, pricey coffee and fancy stationery over the selling of actual books, they did in many locations offer stock of respectable variety and depth. Customers and staff deserve a rescue package soon.&quot;<br /><br /><a href=" target="_blank" title=" <em>Evening Standard</em> says that Border UK&#39;s woes are unlikely to filter through to other high street booksellers, either chains or independents.</a> It quotes Verdict retail analyst Neil Saunders, who says: &quot;The books industry is still a very difficult market to trade in. Margins are very thin in books, and a lot of people are increasingly focused on price. &quot;But there&#39;s still a place for the book shop on the High Street because people do like to browse, and a lots of people go into book stores for reading inspiration &mdash; that wasn&#39;t really the case with the music industry, and it&#39;s a key differential.&quot; It added: &quot;Local bookshops with extensive back catalogues and specialist areas are carving out a niche, and they can still do well.&quot;</p>