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Borders CEO Talks Changes with Shelf Awareness, Says Author Branding Important

Borders CEO, George Jones, gave a far ranging interview with Shelf Awareness.

  • Publishers want Borders’s buyers to travel to NY to enhance relationships.
  • Wants to increase the customer average of $25 which is low compared to the amount of time spent in the store
  • Category management is de-emphasized.
  • Author branding is important.
  • Digital technology and the internet will be addressed and part of that will determine whether the partnership with Amazon will continue.
  • The Borders rewards program has 13 million subscribers. This is a great program. It’s free, of course, and each purchase earns you money. For free.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. jmc
    Dec 19, 2006 @ 09:05:03

    Reading the interview, I have several thoughts:

    1. Buyers didn’t travel to NYC, but did to Ann Arbor? Seems backwards to me.

    2. A better Internet presence would be greatly appreciated. I buy regularly from Amazon, but would much rather use a differentiated Borders website, especially if I can use my rewards card.

    3. The reward program rocks. I ended up with almost $50 of book money.

    4. $25 per visit is the average sale? I guess that works out, because sometimes I leave with only one book ($7) and other times I leave with $90

  2. Jane
    Dec 19, 2006 @ 09:07:08

    JMC – Borders headquarters are in Ann Arbor so the publisher reps would travel to Ann Arbor. But the publisher reps want the Borders buyers to go to NYC.

  3. jmc
    Dec 19, 2006 @ 19:21:20

    I think I’d heard that about Ann Arbor before, because I wasn’t boggled so much by AA itself as the idea that buyers didn’t travel to NYC. The publisher reps going to AA rather than the buyers going to NYC seems backwards to me. It’d be like a dept. store buyer expecting a designer to come come to them, instead of attending fashion shows in Paris/Milan/wherever. :shrugs: But that’s just an assumption on my part; it’s not like I know a lot about buying practices for large corporations.

  4. Meril
    Dec 20, 2006 @ 00:59:27

    It’d be like a dept. store buyer expecting a designer to come to them

    Target actually does do this. There was an article in the Star Tribune a few weeks back about leasing patterns of Minneapolis office space. So many manufacturers are leasing offices near Target headquarters in order to pitch their products at Target’s buyers.

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