Half Price Books, Second Chapter: Borders's Future May Include Selling Used Books

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Photos by Harry Wilonsky
Sooner than later, of course, there will be but one Borders left in Dallas -- the Lovers and Greenville location, spared, so far, from closure following the company's Chapter 11 filing a few weeks ago. The other two locations, in Preston Royal and the West Village, are well into their clearance sales. This weekend we noticed men on street corners holding 30- to 50-percent-off placards -- up (or is that down?) from the initial 20-to-40-off discounts initially offered. So now Borders is a half-price bookseller. And it may be again.

In today's Wall Street Journal, Borders president Mike Edwards gives his first interview since bankruptcy and hints at the future of what remains of Tom and Louis Borders's company:
Mr. Edwards said that he would like to have 15,000 square feet reserved for books. Remaining space could go to a cafe, children's books and educational toys and games, and consumer electronic products. Borders may also seek to add used books, an area that Mr. Edwards said is doing well online.
My wife and son went to the Preston Royal location this afternoon; spring break and all. And still they left with nothing -- not even the $20 stool on sale on the other side. Unlike when they go to the actual Half Price Books.

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8 comments
Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

I always think that if there is a heaven, it would be eternal life in a half price book store and tons of marijuana.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

My big problem with both Borders (and B&N) is that I would get interested in a series, and they wouldn't stock all of the books in the series, and the missing books wouldn't be the ones you would expect, like the earliest ones, but like #7 in a ten book series. This was espccially confounding when a new sereis hardback came out that was highly reviewed. The store passed up a great opportunity to make down-the-list sales. While they'd offer to order the book, as heyhemama mentioned, I could get it cheaper and faster on Amazon. Which goes to show that I'll payy full price for instant availability, but if it is goign to take awhile I want a discount. Anyone else have that situation?

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Going to the Book store has always meant going to 1/2 Price books at our house.

That is the one place where we indulge the kids whims in ways we would never think to do a Toy Store or the candy aisle at a super market.

The last Harry Potter book were the few exceptions. And we( the wife) bought it at Wal Mart at 12:05 am the day it came out .

I have ordered from online stores a time or two. Those were books that I had been searching for that had been out of print for years.

G_David
G_David

I'm still not over Taylor's going out of business.

heyheymama
heyheymama

Agreed. We, too, spend money at HPBks. Have journeyed into the Preston/Royal Borders three times since the announced closure and have left empty-handed each time. Only the cheapie "bargain" books were marked with the higher discount. Mainstream fiction and children's books were at the low end, say 20%-30% off. No better than what I can get at Amazon.

busterkeaton
busterkeaton

My concentration is more concentrated when i'm on crack, with a lil' ripple! But, that sure sounds like a swell after-life, indeed!

EDM
EDM

"... I'll pay full price for instant availability, but if it is going to take a while I want a discount."I completely agree!

"Anyone else have that situation?"That is all part of inventory management. Back in the day (i.e. before computerized point-of-sale systems), stores would inventory their product every week and manually order replacement product. If a hot, new title was out, a good inventory manager would increase the stock levels on other titles in the series or by the same author. If they didn't sell, the excess product was returned during in the next returns cycle. A happy side-effect of this process was store employees actually knew what product was in their store and where it was located in the store since they had to inventory it every week.

Today, automated systems generate replacement orders for product sold. A sophisticated system might even up the quantity if a title's sales seems to be trending up. What is generally lost is the insight to order up because a new title in the series or by the author has been released. Automated systems also have difficulty with product shrinkage -- If a title is shoplifted, how does the ordering system know to send a replacement since the sytem most likely still shows it in stock. Also missing, tragically, is the inventory knowledge each employee developed through the endless repetition of counting product for the ordering process.

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