Publishers in the dark over Borders' future as payment deadline passes

<p>Publishers are waiting for news on Borders, as negotiations continue over a possible sale of the troubled chain. A number of distributors have the retailer on stop, with the Random House-owned companies--The Book Service and Grantham Book Services--&quot;still awaiting confirmation of when a payment will be made&quot; after last week&#39;s deadline passed. <a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/43c0696c-d962-11de-b2d5-00144feabdc0.html" target="_blank" title="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/43c0696c-d962-11de-b2d5-00144feabdc0.html">The FT today (25th) reports that &quot;one person close to the company&quot; said management was likely to appoint administrators before the end of the week.</a></p><p>Publishers distributed by TBS/GBS said &quot;no money, or even a proposal of payment had emerged&quot; from the chain since last week when the Random House-owned companies gave the chain until Friday (20th November) to provide &quot;a payment figure&quot;. Yesterday the chain was forced to cancel a signing for the Ebury published Justin Lee Collins title <em>Good Times</em> due to &quot;unforeseen events&quot;. </p><p>According to an email sent by the distributor, it has now begun the process of placing back on its shelves books that had been ordered by Borders UK: &quot;Due to a number of our client publisher&rsquo;s requests, we will be commencing the exercise of crediting and placing back to stock the previously picked but not despatched order from last week; we aim to have completed this exercise by this Friday evening (27th). We are also continuing to credit authorised returns received at our Manningtree returns warehouse.&quot;</p><p>Publishers told <em>The Bookseller</em> they were in the dark over the future of the business, while Borders&#39; new PR Financial Dynamics is continuing to offer a &quot;no comment&quot; to media inquiries.</p><p>Children&#39;s publishers were particularly concerned about the potential loss from the high street of the chain that has picked up <em>The Bookseller&#39;s</em> Retail Award for children&#39;s bookselling for three consecutive years. Scholastic sales director Hilary Murray-Hill said: &quot;The potential loss of any customer is always going to be of concern and the loss of a high street customer is of particular concern. We have enjoyed good support from Borders across all of our list.&quot; But independent publisher Piccadilly Press, m.d. Brenda Gardner said: &quot;We had been struggling with Borders, including lots of returns and the changes in their children&rsquo;s buyers.&quot;</p><p>According to the <em>FT</em>, the person close to the company said that if Borders was placed in administration some stores would close immediately, while others would carry on for a few weeks to run off stock or to try to find a buyer. It also reported that Waterstone&#39;s parent HMV was still in discussions as of yesterday (24th) though was only interested in a small number of stores. </p><p>Borders UK has been the subject of speculation since last week when its adviser Clearwater placed a &#39;for sale&#39; ad in the <em>Financial Times</em>. <em>Retail Week</em> reported that WH Smith had walked away from a deal. It also emerged that TBS/GBS cut off supply last week, following Borders UK&#39;s decision to stop a cheque payment, claiming that it had &quot;overpaid&quot; the distributors &quot;by not netting off returns deductions from their payment&quot;. Hachette-owned Littlehampton Book Services joined those distributors to have temporarily stopped trading with the bookseller yesterday (Monday 22nd November). Gardners is also understood to have put a stop on the company, meaning it can no longer supply books from its website. </p>