A lot of ups and downs this week in the retail markets.
Borders, after ongoing struggles to pay its publishers, is meeting with them this week to try to convince them to convert their deferred payments to interest bearing loans. Stock price is down to 84 cents, capping a 34% decline over the last 12 months.
Britain’s HMV Group is closing 60 stores following lower-than-expected holiday sales–20 of their 312 Waterstone’s (bookstore) outlets and 40 of their 285 HMV record stores.
Meanwhile, Half Price Books, which has continued to be profitable even through a recession and a tripling in digital book sales, will be putting its inventory online, following the likes of Amazon who’ve been doing that for years.
And speaking of digital books, millions of unwrapped iPads, Kindles, and Nooks led to a huge surge in digital book sales this week, with the digital versions outselling print for the top 6 books on the USA Today bestseller list, and 19 of the top 50. One analyst estimates that 2011 marketshare for digital books will double that of 2010.
I don’t think any of this will be much of a surprise to anyone. A friend recently told me that she knew the digital book market was going to take off when her parents — who are in their 70s — each got Kindles and absolutely loved them. Online and resale booksellers will continue to do well, as will indie stores that have survived the box store revolution by building their businesses around community. Digital book sales will continue to rise, while the Borders and B&Ns of the world will no doubt end up closing the doors of many, if not all of their stores as they try to figure out how to do business in this changing landscape.