Publishers say Borders exposure 'minimised'

<p>Publishers have limited their exposure to Borders, an attempt to avoid the major industry losses of a year ago when the collapse of EUK is estimated to have cost them &pound;25m.</p><p>It is estimated that Borders stores could be holding as much as &pound;20m in stock, about half what the store had at the end of its last reported financial year (February 2008), though publishers said that tight controls had been put on book supply in the months following the management buy-out in July, with some stock bought for cash. Sales at the chain had also diminished for many publishers who spoke with <em>The Bookseller</em>.</p><p>Penguin UK chief executive Peter Field said the publisher had retention of title on its stock and would now contact the administrator and await a reply. However he added: &quot;We&#39;ve been watching this quite carefully over the last few months so although it [the Borders collapse] has been really disappointing, it&#39;s not a great surprise. We&#39;ve been managing the situation very carefully to minimise exposure.&quot;</p><p>On the question of resupply, Field said: &quot;We haven&#39;t been asked by the administrator yet and it depends on the tone of those conversations.&quot;</p><p>Steve Connolly, managing director of New Holland, said: &quot;Our stock exposure isn&#39;t something that would worry us unduly. We&#39;re 61% behind on our sales figures [with Borders] from last year.&quot; Another publisher said that its sales with the retailer had halved in three years.</p><p>On Friday (27th November) Borders rolled out a 20% off promotion across stores, with publishers fearing that a fire-sale could follow.</p><p>Simon Juden, chief executive of the Publishers Association, which has established a publishing-wide committee in an attempt to find a way for publishers to continue trading with Borders, said he hoped the retailer would find a buyer, ideally for all stores. &quot;We are talking to advisors to find the best way forward for publishers,&quot; he said.</p><p>Simon &amp; Schuster m.d. Ian Chapman said he hoped there was &quot;some way&quot; in which Borders could be saved. &quot;You need as much competition in the book trade as possible. The problem is that over the past few years the number of alternatives has diminished yearly. It looks like there will only now be Waterstone&#39;s, W H Smith and British Bookshops. Borders was great in quirky non-fiction and very good on music books as well.&quot;</p>