bordersRTTNews reports that Borders is going to be delaying payments to some publishers as it tries to conserve cash and refinance its debt. After-hours trading saw the company’s stock price decline by over 12%.

Borders is experiencing trouble after a third-party review resulted in a decrease in its inventory’s liquidation value. The shrunken assets resulted in lower borrowing power, and unless the company can find more money somewhere, it could be unable to make payments on its existing credit agreements.

Things just don’t seem to be going well for the major e-book chains. First Barnes & Noble puts itself up for sale, and now Borders faces its own financial crisis. I doubt this is going to be the last big failure of a print-publishing-related industry. And those self-same publishers who have been trying to prop up print bookstores by pricing e-books higher must be feeling like their feeding hand has just been bitten.

No matter how much the publishers try to protect bookstores against e-books, it’s not going to save them forever. If they don’t take a long hard look at how they can streamline their business model (it’s insane that their overhead calculations still include the cost of recalling and destroying sometimes more than half of the products they produce!) and help the bookstores do the same, publishers might just find themselves without many outlets other than Amazon to move their merchandise.

(I was first alerted to this story by The Digital Reader.)


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