Handing out multimillion-dollar subsidies to large chains has become commonplace in much of the country. But when governments use public money to woo national chains, economic growth and job creation are negligible, and independent retailers suffer, Stacy Mitchell argues in this commentary for Business Week.
Three years ago, after learning that Borders Books & Music planned to open an outlet in Corvallis, Oregon, Jack Wolcott, who has owned a local bookstore, Grass Roots Books & Music, for more than thirty years, contacted Bob Baird of The Book Bin and several other local business owners whose stores were likely to be affected by the chain. They began meeting, at first discussing a possible legal challenge to Borders and ultimately deciding instead to organize local businesses and launch a public education effort.… Read More
Borders Books & Music has abandoned plans to build a superstore on the corner of Sixth and Lamar in downtown Austin, Texas. A community organization, Livable City, had joined local business owners in fighting the development, which was to be built across the street from two long-standing independent stores, BookPeople and Waterloo Records. The city had set aside $2.1 million in public subsidies for the project.… Read More
Leading publishers will be involved in determining which books are carried at Borders Books stores under a new "category management" plan being phased in this year. Under the plan, Borders is assigning each of 250 book categories—ranging from thrillers to romance novels—to one of the top publishers in that category. Borders will provide this "category captain" with detailed sales data for all titles in the category, including those of competitors. … Read More
The now defunct Intimate Bookshop of North Carolina has filed suit against Barnes & Noble and Borders Books alleging that the chains used their market power to pressure publishers for special discounts and terms unavailable to other retailers. According to documents filed in the case by Intimate’s attorney, Carl Person, the chains received an effective discount of 60 percent off the cover price, compared to only about 40-46 percent given to independent bookstores. … Read More
In a decision that may galvanize action in other states, the California Board of Equalization (BOE) has ruled that online bookseller Borders.com must collect state sales tax. Under a 1992 Supreme Court decision, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, states cannot compel out-of-state companies to collect sales taxes unless the company has a physical presence, or "nexus," in the state.… Read More
In August, the city of Rockville, Maryland adopted an ordinance barring stores over 65,000 square feet and requiring those that exceed 25,000 square feet to meet design guidelines. The action puts an end to a proposed 128,000 square foot Costco warehouse store. (Wal-Mart stores range from about 80,000 to 250,000 square feet. A typical Borders Books is about 35,000 square feet.)… Read More