Is it time to just let Borders die? Anyone who is sending books to Borders is taking the risk of never seeing payment for them. If you have inventory there already you are probably going to be out of luck. It also seems ludicrous for Borders to issue a promissory note to publishers in lieu of payment. Why should any publisher finance their business? It is just time to let them die. Invest more effort in Barnes & Noble. They just had a booming Christmas season. They are struggling financially too but that is more about direction and strategy than it is erosion of the stores. Fortunately, their Small Press Department seems to be functioning well. We can still get listed there and actually have inventory purchased.
In the New Age market, where I have spent most of my publishing years, New Leaf Distributing is showing dangerous signs of future failure. Over the last two years, they have gone from a personal relationship with their vendors to no longer answering calls and emails to reducing staff in each area a publisher or author cares about: purchasing, advertising, and sales. They no longer have buyers for books and CDs. Evolve! Magazine has gone away. They are trying to reposition themselves as someone who will help you with the chains. Who will do that? They have never (in my experience) had any salespeople that even call on the heart of their business, the small New Age/Metaphysical shops. I have pulled the books that I represent from their warehouse. As you all know, the self-publisher is the one really at risk here. We have put out the money ahead of time and cannot withstand any company that is not stable. There are plenty of other avenues to pursue.
This is all a shame. The business I grew up in is going away. The people I have known for many years are displaced. The Big Change is here. As the industry moves more and more to eBooks and Internet sales, why wait to go there?