For all books that cannot be sold elsewhere in our chain or returned to the publishers for credit, the company will engage in a process where product is strategically merchandised and priced for sale. If product is not selling quickly at lower volume stores, it will be shipped to higher volume stores where demand is higher and it will be sold. Inventory is continually consolidated throughout the stores that are closing and the stores are re-merchandised to continue to attract buyers. So, the fact is, we do not expect to have any product left from closing the stores. (December 12, 2009 at 12:50pm)
Donate, Not Dumpster: Hi Pat, thanks for taking the time to weigh in. Nearly two weeks after Waldenbooks employees helped start this campaign, it's nice to get a response. It's unfortunate that your fellow Borders Group executive, CFO Mark Bierley, didn’t feel customers' concerns on this issue were important enough to read before deleting.
It’s great to hear you say that you "will not be disposing of books as a result of the Waldenbooks store closure process." In that case, why were Waldenbooks employees in management positions told that unsold inventory would be dumpstered (once liquidation sales end) as part of the company's plans for the store closings? And why did they feel so certain Borders would follow through with these plans that they were willing to risk their own jobs through a campaign to alert the public?
Your comments also seem to minimize how prevalent the practice of dumpstering books is at Waldenbooks and Borders stores, as former employees have revealed.
"We do not expect to have any product left from closing the stores" is a noble sentiment, but it's hard to believe there's no possibility some books will remain unsold. It also glosses over the fact that many of the books you will be "returning" to publishers for credit will actually be stripped of covers and dumpstered. Why can't you use this opportunity to take a stand against your own industry's wasteful practices, and work something out so that they can be donated instead? Figure out a plan, issue a press release, and then we'll stand up and cheer Borders for doing the right thing. (December 12, 2009 at 2:07pm)
Pat Wynn: Beyond the approximately 200 Waldenbooks stores that are closing, we have over time had programs where unsold books appropriate to be donated to schools, etc., have been donated to assist community organizations. We also hold book drives during the year in all of our stores where we select specific charities to receive books on a local basis and have facilitated the donation of thousands of books. Like all book retailers we have also disposed of some books when they couldn’t be sold—these are primarily mass market paperback books that are generally not durable enough to be donated to a library, for example. We do our best to dispose of as little product as possible— as a retailer we’d rather sell it, of course— yet just to be sure we are doing the right thing, we will reconvene an existing team that we have on this issue to address it fully. Thank you. (December 12, 2009 at 12:50pm)
Donate, Not Dumpster: Pat, it's also great to know that you "will reconvene an existing team that we have on this issue to address it fully." We are simply calling for Borders to make a public statement pledging to work with distributors and publishers to find a way to donate any unsold books left over (in the event there are any, regardless of your commendable intentions to sell everything) instead of destroying them.
If publishers plan to destroy books you would be returning for credit, use this opportunity to take a stand against your own industry's wasteful practices, and work something out so that they can be donated instead. Your employees, customers, and book lovers everywhere will thank you for it. (December 12, 2009 at 2:09pm)