Apropos the Borders Dispute

Tuesday, February 4, 2003

An article at Business 2.0 which starts off:

“Borders Group (BGP) used to pride itself on stocking its bookstores with the widest selection possible in a brick-and-mortar establishment. In its cooking section, for instance, there were always more than 10 titles about sushi, including Sushi for Parties, the more supportive Squeamish About Sushi, and The Encyclopedia of Sushi Rolls, a definitive tome that explains, among other things, how to spell your name in makimono.

“Now, Borders is planning to yank half of those sushi how-tos from its shelves. Why? In part because HarperCollins, the nation’s third-largest publishing house, told it to.

“Welcome to the world of ‘category management,’ a bizarre and controversial place in which the nation’s biggest retailers ask one supplier in a category to figure out how best to stock their shelves. You’d expect HarperCollins to tell Borders which of its own books are hot, of course. But that’s not what’s going on here. Borders has essentially tapped Harper to advise it on what cookbooks to carry from all other publishers as well.”