Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Borders "Boycott": Request for Information

Somehow, the idea has escaped into the wild that a "group" of SFF writers are urging, or organizing, a boycott of Borders. (Probably based on this io9 post, and embodied by this post by Sean P. Aune, who must be exceptionally intelligent, since he mostly agrees with me.)

The thing is, I don't believe there is any such group.

Pat Cadigan did call for a boycott -- more than a month ago -- but I didn't see anyone else picking up on that.

Greg Frost urged readers to go to independent bookstores, and Tobias Buckell just wanted his readers to go where the book would be available (wherever that would be convenient for them). Is there anyone else out there who did call for a boycott?

And, again, this was just over a month ago -- if there was a boycott, surely there would be some tangible evidence of it by now, right? (At least a website with a manifesto and a logo, surely.)


Adele said...

never heard any such thing. seems odd.

Anonymous said...

Tried Got nothing. Guess the campaign isn't underway just yet.

This boycott talk is all over the place, though, including the sources cited above as well as others.

Neil Gaiman reported getting hostile emails from people who claimed to be Borders employees. That's taking it a bit too far.

Tobias Buckell said...

Thanks for clarifying :-)

Liz said...

I've watched this explode via your comments and I can only shake my head. I buy my books where I can find them - multiple or indy, regardless. My indy shop knows me very well and makes sure to let me know when they get new stock in so I can come browse. Then again I know the staff at my Waterstones on Oxford Street really well too and have spent many a lunch time gabbing with them about books and authors and writing.

I think a lot of people forget that the people you see in the stores are there as employees and subject to the whim of their employers - be they a multi-national chain or a tiny quirky indy bookshop.

Regardless of this, of all this fuss, no matter who is being skipped, reading should be encouraged and so should supporting your local indy shops, but then who can say no to some really good 3 for 2 deals? The subject is tremendously personal and it is vastly interesting to read how inflamed people are getting about the subject.

So thanks for standing up and being the one to pull it all together.

Happy reading, y'all!

Anonymous said...

Still no word about a boycott, but Bookseller Chick, who I think used to work at a Borders that closed, had useful things to say about how the stores operate. Tobias Bucknell appears to be available from Borders Online.

Anonymous said...

All I did was ask, *should* SF writers boycott Borders.

Anonymous said...

I'm tagging on a bit late, but hope that will be forgiven.

Today was the first I'd heard about the Borders-skipping frustrations, but given the collective losses and red ink flowing through Borders, I'd say readers are already passing them up. I've never set out to boycot them, but I find myself shopping elsewhere and have been for years. The store's often annoying and poorly stocked.

In other words, no boycot is needed--they are their own enemy.

Wolf Nards said...

This comic book boycott didn't get off the ground either: think people have lost the fight. It shouldn't be about winning the fight, but putting up the fight. It doesn't matter that Borders is dying, it matters that they've done something wrong and the little guy is standing up to them. To get crushed surely, but at least trying.

Andrew Wheeler said...

Wolf Nards: I have to disagree with you: I don't see that Borders did anything "wrong." Their inventory policies may not be optimal for particular writers -- or, possibly, even the best policies for Borders itself -- but it's purely a business decision made on a costs-and-benefits calculation. I don't see any moral dimension to the situation.

In your link, you're not only ridiculously overreacting, but you're cutting off your nose to spite your face -- if you want Borders to carry graphic novels, you need to buy graphic novels at Borders. A successful boycott by comics readers would only prove to them that the category isn't worth carrying.

You're also overreacting to a general cut in the level of inventory that Borders is carrying -- this is happening across all categories of books. As you may have noticed, there's a recession on, with a subsequent drop in book sales. And Borders has financial problems of its own on top of that, meaning they need to keep lean if they want to survive. So their shelves in general are a little emptier -- but, again, that's purely a business decision, and comics haven't been singled out at all. (You should see what they've done to their orders for business books!)

Wolf Nards said...

I feel boycotts shouldn't be about correcting a policy. It's very nature should be about as you say "cutting off your nose to spite your face." Down with what little remains of their comic section, down with Borders. Anything else is an empty threat.

And, of course, I'm overreacting. I called Borders Nazis... it's kind of a joke. But the series side of it is that they are reducing comic sections, more so than other section. Why have they target graphic novels? Is it pure business, or is their a disrespect, however, minor it may be?

Post a Comment