Friday, March 14, 2008

The Reading Habits of Americans

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday ran a humorous article titled “Borders Tries About-Face on Shelves,” which details the nation’s second-largest book retailer’s “radical move” to spur sagging sales by displaying its books so that the covers actually face customers. With Borders’ stock down 58% over the past 52 weeks, it probably makes sense for the retailer to start thinking outside of the box.

Speaking of big-box retailers, Barnes & Noble's stock spiked more than 6% Thursday on news that founder and chairman Leonard Riggio purchased $11.5 million of company stock. Riggio signaled an equally bullish attitude about the reading habits of Americans in The New York Times on March 2 when he challenged Steve Jobs’ recent comment that “People don’t read anymore.” As if to confirm that Americans are reading and bookselling is profitable, Riggio and his wife, Louise, recently donated $20 million through the Riggio Foundation to build housing for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

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