After mutilating the music industry’s profits, the internet has turned its sights onto booksellers with devastating effect. First Borders fell in the UK, then the US business started to struggle and last week announced it would file for bankruptcy. Then, last week, private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners appointed administrators to its 26 Borders and 164 Angus & Robertson shops in Australia (and New Zealand’s Whitcoulls). Angus & Robertson is one of Australia’s oldest booksellers, having started operations in 1886.
The move was no shock to industry insiders, as Glenn Dyer explained in Crikey last week, in October 2010, the PEP subsidiary, which owns Borders and A&R, REDGroup, announced a $43 million loss for the 2010 financial year, noting that the loss would have caused it to breach several covenants attached to its considerable debt.