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Lois McMaster Bujold’s Book Not Stocked In Borders Stores

According to Lois McMaster Bujold’s Myspace page  , Borders has decided not to stock Horizons  in the store. It will be available online only.   This is really sad because I think that Bujold is an author that really deserves a broader audience.   This will obviously not help.

It’s hard to say what is the decision behind this.   Bujold seems to be a frontlist author of EOS, a division of HarperCollins, and for her not to have physical stock at one of the largest chain stores in the US says something, but I’m not sure what.   Perhaps its an indicator of the illness of Borders.   Perhaps an indicator of a wider systemic industry illness.

Bujold has a beautiful writing style and readers who like fantasy and romance would be hard pressed to find a better blend than in Bujold’s Sharing Knife series.

Thanks JMC for the tip.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

40 Comments

  1. Liz L
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 08:45:26

    All I can say is that I wiggled out of work early to beat rush hour traffic and get my hands on Horizon. I hit up the Borders on my way home- and found out that that Borders and all the Borders in the state (IL) were not going to receive a single copy.

    Which sucks for Borders, because I went across the street and bought not only Horizons but also another book from B&N. I would have gone Kindle, but that’s not out yet.

    Even more sucky for Borders, the store was a giant, near-empty mess. The sci-fi/fantasy shelves were so empty that books were shelved in little vertical piles because there were not enough to fill the shelves horizontally.

    I used to prefer Borders because it was easy to order books online and have them shipped to stores without ever having to go through an employee. Also, I used to find better selection at Borders (as opposed to the mass of blockbusters-only at B&N). But that’s definitely changing, and things don’t look so bright for them anymore…

    More importantly, I wish the genre-only (mystery, romance, and tons of sci-fi/fantasy) independent bookstore near my house hadn’t gone out of business. Borders and B&N killed them, and now they in turn are failing hard. Huzzah for my Kindle.

  2. Courtney Milan
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 08:49:30

    Ugh. And here I thought it was only missing from the local store because my Borders sucks big time.

  3. (Jān)
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 08:54:45

    Why wouldn’t they carry a book by a popular author? That makes no sense.

  4. Diane V
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 09:14:06

    This apparently has happened to Jennifer Rardin’s 5th Jaz book “One More Bite” too. It’s available online at Borders but not in the store…very frustrating.

  5. veinglory
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 09:15:56

    I am boggled. What the hell is going on? Is there some kind of protest I can take part in?

  6. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 09:23:03

    WTF? If this can happen to Bujold, what hope to the rest of us have?

  7. Jessica G.
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 09:25:26

    My Borders is still awesome…

    Have we considered that this might be something from the publishing end? Are they potentially refusing Borders the ability to send back unpurchased copies, without a better discount?

  8. Sandy D.
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 09:32:44

    Huh. Like Liz, I had the choice of Borders and BN, and went to BN (because I had an unused gift card) and ended up spending an extra $20 on “The Graveyard Book”. I would have been seriously pissed and shocked if I had gone to Borders and found that it wasn’t sold out, but not even carried at all.

    I spent half the night reading it, btw, and it was beyond wonderful and a perfect ending for the Sharing Knife series.

  9. Kimber An
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 09:56:26

    Well, that stinks, but I’ve never been a fan of Borders anyway.

  10. GrowlyCub
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 09:59:52

    It’s truly bizarre.

    I wonder if Borders’ returns money-making scheme has something to do with it, but I honestly cannot see Eos refusing to deliver to Borders for an author such as Bujold.

    I hope somebody finds out what happened!

  11. Troutqueen
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 10:23:22

    And this is why, several years ago, when a Borders manager asked my husband and I why we looked through the SF/F section but rarely bought anything, we told them it was because they don’t stock new releases that we want…

  12. Twila Price
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 10:40:54

    I went to my Borders last night and got a “no one is carrying it” answer and that it hadn’t been released yet. I couldn’t even order it on the online store. So I called the Barnes and Noble down the street, discovered they had five copies, and reserved one. Damn. I knew Borders was falling fast, but not to have the new Bujold?!

  13. Annmarie
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 10:51:48

    I went to Borders the other day to get a book and found they didn’t have it in stock. (A Classic btw Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy). I asked if I could order it and was told the Borders policy had changed. You can’t order books anymore and have them call you to pick them up and purchase them. Now you have to use a computer in the store, go on Borders online and order it that way thru their website. I was told too many people were ordering books then never coming to get them so now they make you prepay. But for the book I wanted, they HAVE it and it is sitting in their warehouse… but it wasn’t at my store. So instead of transferring it to the store and calling me when it comes in they want me to order it off their website instead. (The thing that bugged me is I didn’t want to use my credit card, I wanted to pay cash… which I did when I drove to B&N and got the book there.)

  14. Debra Hyde
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 11:01:21

    I think it reflects just how badly Borders is doing, much to my dismay. Reduced stock has been a corporate goal ever since they started seeing the economic squeeze. I can’t tell you the number of books I wanted to buy in the last several months that were deemed “online only.”

    Which is sad. They arrived in my neck of the woods long before B&N did, in an area void of any sizable bookstores. Suddenly, I had more books in one place than I’d seen anywhere outside of a college library. An instant cafe culture sprang up, busy with performances, chess and checkers, and readings. You could always count on bustle at the bookstore.

    Not anymore. And I sadly suspect we’re seeing the first of the company’s death throes.

  15. Sunita
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 11:23:27

    Wow, Borders really *is* going down the tubes. I used to patronize it more than B&N because I liked the layout of the store and the one closest to me has a good DVD and music section. But this is infuriating. Their SFF section has never been great, but to fail to stock a major, extremely high quality writer is beyond the pale. I don’t know why they did this, but unless there’s a really defensible reason they’re not getting my money anymore.

  16. Kay Sisk
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 11:44:11

    I’m not surprised about the Borders situation. I had it happen several times over the Christmas holidays when I was wanting a specific book, only to find them either not available or order only. Forget that.

    Borders is closer to me than BN, but still almost an hour away. The membership was free and I enjoyed the coupons sent over the holidays–when I could find what I wanted in stock.

    That ‘not available’ book? A Texas “classic”–Night before Christmas in Texas. Amazing that Amazon had it–and I had it shortly thereafter.

  17. Katy Cooper
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 11:57:51

    Fwiw, the website said that Jess Andersen’s Dawnkeepers was “online only” until the actual release date, and then they showed it was in stock.

    Of course, I ended up buying mine at B&N because I didn’t know they’d eventually have it at Borders… (I work across the street from a Borders, and half a mile from a B&N, so the Borders is much more convenient…but if they don’t have what I want, what use is convenience?)

  18. Steve Green
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 12:09:24

    This is rather worrying, as there are only two bookshops in my town (Solihull, England), and Borders is one of them. The other’s Waterstones, which may well be getting my future business if Borders – geographically the more convenient – tries the same routine this side of the Pond.

  19. Borders Books | The Naughty Bits
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 12:16:28

    [...] think it is time to start using those Border Books Gift Cards if you got em. When I start hearing that, much like Circuit City did, a major chain store stops carrying new merchandise completely and [...]

  20. Mora
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 12:30:45

    Borders skipping books, even successful, lead titles, is nothing new.

  21. Jessa Slade
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 12:32:56

    What a flail. I can see trying to cut costs by making you purchase less popular books online, but LMB? I’m so glad I live near Powells Books. Their SFF shelves take up a whole room just by themselves and they’re stuffed. Lovely to see.

  22. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 12:47:08

    I emailed a link to this post to a friend of mine who works for Locus and she responded with the following (which is from the December issue of Locus; I'm posting it here with permission):

    Death Nell for Borders?

    Borders, already in a weak financial state before the current economy crisis, warned publishers that it will cut book orders across the board and sent out notice to at least one major distributor that it will not be making payment for two months, due to “anticipated excessive returns.” In other words, the retailer may return most of its titles to gain the operating cash to carry it through the season, reordering the same titles but starting the payment cycle over again. This would be a huge blow to distributors and publishers alike, and while it might shore up Borders for a few months, it will rattle the industry at large and may ruin some smaller publishers.

    Book distributor IPG, which “typically carries receivables of approximately two million dollars with Borders,” is reported by Edward Champion and Galleycat to have sent out a letter warning its clients regarding the upcoming Borders crisis. While not recommending cutting off business with Borders, IPG apparently asked its clients to choose between not shipping titles to Borders, or accepting that IPG will only guarantee payment for printing costs on any books ordered by Borders instead of the invoiced amount, a policy already in use by other distributors according to IPG president Mark Suchomel.

    My friend is also going to do some digging to see if she can find out where this all started (with Borders, the distributor, the publisher . . .).

  23. Evangeline
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 13:09:11

    This could be a strategy to force consumers to buy books from Borders.com. I don’t think the site has caught on (though, that’s the fault of Borders aligning themselves with Amazon.com for so long, and not creating an official website that offers anything extra. B&N was smart to tap into the need for social networking amongst readers by setting up message boards and tapping popular authors for monthly columns). It’s a terrible business move all around.

  24. FD
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 13:13:47

    Steve Green, you live near me (kinda) and sadly Waterstones does not appear to be carrying Horizons at all. They do have the rest of the quartet, but only as MMPB’s and won’t be carrying Horizon till it comes out in that format.

    I tried calling the Birmingham Borders, thinking surely they’d have it, but nope.
    Borders UK is not even listing the book either.

    What’s more, the ebook is not available till March, for crying out loud. Fail, Harper Collins / EOS, fail.

    I’d hoped to avoid Amazon, because I like to support brick&mortar stores. *sigh*

  25. Twila Price
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 13:33:09

    Sigh. I live in Ann Arbor, which is the home of Borders (the one, the only, the original) and I remember it so very well as being the kind of bookstore one could only dream about back in the day, before going corporate. Now, though? Not so good, even here in its hometown — I still go there, I still try to hope there will be books to buy on its shelves, but it is getting to be a wanner and wanner hope with each week that passes. Luckily, there IS Barnes and Noble, and a local independent bookseller and a mystery bookstore so I can still get my fixes, but it’s just not the same.

  26. veinglory
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 13:40:09

    I suspect people will go from brick-Borders to e-Amazon, not borders.com

  27. LauraJane
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 13:46:56

    In December, I was looking forward to picking up the YA novels Perfect Chemistry and Cracked Up to Be with some Borders coupons I had. I was told at 3 different Borders stores in New York City that neither book would be carried in stores, but would only be available online. The clerks seemed baffled by this. I also went in search of another book, and was told by another baffled clerk that they used to carry the book, but would no longer keep it in stores. Only available online. I took it to mean that Borders was cutting down on the books it was planning to carry in preparation for closing down.

    The sad thing? I found a copy of Cracked Up to Be at one of the Borders I visited previously about a week later. When I brought it to the register, the book wasn’t in the system. The manager had to look it up and it took a good ten minutes before they could sell the book to me. It seems they really don’t have it together. I shudder to think of all the books being sold at Borders that aren’t being credited to authors.

  28. Dana
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 13:48:20

    I wish I had known about this earlier today, I could have saved some gas money. I went to Borders right after my class ended this morning to pick up Horizon, and was very surprised and pissed when I found out that they didn’t have it. Oh well, I just went over to BN to buy my copy. I think I’m ready to give up on Borders. I’ve preferred their store over BN, because they have a much more extensive romance section, but it’s becoming way too much of a hassle to shop there.

  29. Nikki
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 13:55:27

    So it wasn’t just me. I thought I was going crazy when I went to Border’s for two days in a row. The book isn’t even available via their website. I can’t say that Barnes and Noble was that much better because not one of 3 separate stores could find a copy for me. I finally ordered off of Amazon and have washed my hands of both of them. But seriously, how do you not order a Bujold book? Has she ever not sold well?

    I am concerned about Borders becuase compared to B&N their romance, science fiction, and manga were significantly better. Now, my only other option will become Amazon.

  30. GrowlyCub
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 14:04:27

    Nikki,

    did the B&N stores not stock it either or were they sold out?

  31. Sandy D.
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 16:00:01

    Twila, I’m just outside Ann Arbor now, and I’ve always gone to Border’s (if not always the big one downtown recently) by preference over BN. I’m still just gobsmacked that even the A2 Border’s isn’t carrying Horizon. And not only did they lose the $$ that I would have spent there yesterday, in the future I’m less likely to even check there. I guess I’ll just call Nicola’s, while sadly remembering the Border’s of the 80′s.

  32. Twila Price
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 16:05:29

    I nearly did call Nicola’s, Sandy D., but since we were at the Arborland Borders I went with B&N. I *have* bought about ten books at Nicola’s due to the stupid non-carrying of midlist sf/ya of Borders in the last six months (E. Bear’s new hardcover, several YA novels, etc.).

  33. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 16:16:46

    According to my source Borders did place an order for Horizon, but there’s some snafu with the distributor . . . I'm going to guess they weren't too pleased to be the one bearing the burden of Borders' plan to return books and place new orders for the same titles in order to stay afloat.

    This certainly does suck for Bujold and her readers (and all the other authors who I'm sure are caught in the same “snafu”).

  34. Claudia
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 16:38:37

    The thing that relaly irks me is that my local stores are delving ever deeper into non-book areas (board games, toys, toiletries, bags, etc.). Even worse is the appearance of those new digital music stations despite the predominace of ipods/itunes & mp3 integration with many cell phones. The cafe at the Stonestown store continues to open 2 hours prior to the rest of the store despite mcdonald’s and starbucks garnering most of the prospective customers. I feel sorry for the store employees, but horrible stewardship of the business could only lead to the worst outcome.

    The ultimate irony in all of this is that Amazon has lost its first big sales tax battle, but there’ll be few brick and mortars to shop at even if Amazon starts losing its tax free advantage nationwide.

  35. JaimeK
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 17:30:26

    I live in a small town and our only bookstore is Borders. I used to loooove them. Our store remodeled and with the remodel fewer books were on the shelves. A lot of current titles not on the shelves and it didn’t make sense. I used to be able to special order or spo a book – if I didn’t think I would read it they would send it back. They have now made it a requirement for all “spos” that you have to pay for it before they will order it. I thought this was a real sign of their economic woes. Bujold not being on the shelf is just another indication.

    I think it is too bad. If they don’t figure it out we won’t have a “local” bookstore at all. People will spend more and more online instead of dealing with the book seller.

  36. Nikki
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 17:38:26

    The B&Ns had received the books and had not sold any copies. They were not able to find them however. The guy at the first one did an exhaustive search going through the backrooms and could not find it. I went through the other sections hoping it was misplaced but no luck. The second B&N reported they had ordered it but also could not find it. Finally before I drove more, we called from the second and the third store knew they had copies but could not find them.

  37. GrowlyCub
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 17:40:32

    Nikki,

    wow, that’s bad news indeed and it’s going to hurt Bujold chances of getting into the bestseller lists which publishers seem to put so much stock on. :(

  38. GrowlyCub
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 18:01:27

    Ehm, okay so my brain’s been playing tricks on me.

    Make that ‘getting onto’ and ‘put stock in’.

  39. SonomaLass
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 21:51:27

    I’ve been a regular Borders customer since I got back into reading romance, because the local chain I want to patronize doesn’t carry romance. I prefer it to the local B&N due to the better layout, easier access & parking, and larger inventory of the genres I read. Then there’s the free rewards program; I’m all about that. But a lot of this discussion reflects my recent experiences with Borders — out of stock on books that they really should have, lots of gaps on shelves, and a computer inventory that isn’t much help. Our last trip there, all the books we wanted were listed as “likely in store,” but none of them were. The signs are not good, I’m afraid.

  40. jmc
    Feb 13, 2009 @ 14:10:18

    According to a post/note on Bujold’s MySpace, the Borders stocking snafu has now been resolved.

    http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=164952151&blogID=470469738

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