Friday, February 18, 2011

ABC 15 Article starring Barbara Peters and The Poisoned Pen

Business as usual for two local bookstores after Borders' bankruptcy

Books (
Posted: 02/18/2011
Last Updated: 3 hours and 10 minutes ago
PHOENIX - In the wake of Borders’ declaration of bankruptcy, two smaller bookstores in Phoenix have seen continued success as independent retailers.
Borders Group Inc., the second-largest chain of bookstores in the United States, filed for bankruptcy protection after years of declining sales that have strained the company with debt. The chain plans to close a third of its stores, including eight in Arizona.
The company’s lack of online sales and failure to expand into the realm of digital books made it difficult to compete with larger retailers Barnes & Noble and
But two local stores, Bards Books in Phoenix and The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, haven’t been affected by the same problems as Borders due to their smaller size and niche markets.
Sven Rosckowff, owner of Bards Books, said business has picked up since the store’s opening in 2008, in spite of the recession.
He attributed the business’ success to its convenient location near a coffee shop and an innovative inventory that caters to customers’ needs.
“Our inventory is a direct reflection of what our customers want,” Rosckowff said. “We don’t try to push bestsellers on them.”
Rosckowff, the sole employee of Bards Books, said he tries to “keep a finger on the pulse” of book trends. Books about philosophy, art and cooking do particularly well, he said. He hopes some of Borders’ former customers find their way to his establishment.
Although he recognized Borders’ failure to embrace online shopping, Rosckowff said he doesn’t expect to make the Internet a major part of his business model because the intimate feel of Bards Books is a big contributor to its success.
The Poisoned Pen, however, does have a large online following.
Owner Barbara Peters said the store, with multiple employees, is more isolated from the local economy because a large portion of its sales are online, but the retail location also offers a personal touch.
“People really need advice for buying fiction,” Peters said. “A 'good book' means something different to everyone.”
Peters added the store also hosts events with many different authors and webcasts the events on their website, which has an e-mail newsletter that reaches more than 10,000 people.
“The Internet has facilitated a lot of our business,” Peters said.
She plans to roll out a new website for the store in the next few weeks.
Peters foresaw the inevitable fall of Borders, she said, due to its incredibly rapid growth that outpaced its innovation.
“There was always going to be a day when they hit a wall,” she said. “Miles of shelves with books on them is no longer a viable concept,”
While Borders’ closing could mean increased business for both owners, both said it’s too soon to predict the implications of the company’s bankruptcy.

Rosckowff said he was curious to see what kind of impact Borders will have on independent bookstores like his own. Peters said the bankruptcy of such a large company could make waves throughout the entire publishing industry.
“If the publishing companies go into disarray, what happens to us?” Peters asked. “Right now, we can only guess how it’s going to go.”

1 comment:

  1. Borders and Barnes and Noble allow people to sit for hours and read books and magazines instead of buying them. That had to contribute also to the bankruptcy. On the other hand Poison Pen has comfy chairs that you can sit and check to see if that book is your kind of book. They have a super stock of mysteries, non fiction and very helpful, knowledgeable people to help you.