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Friday, May 27, 2011

New Whitcoulls owners unworried by e-Books

David Norman unconcerned about rising global sales of eBooks

Anne and David Norman. Sarah Ivey photo
Rich-list stalwarts Anne and David Norman, new owners of Whitcoulls/Borders in New Zealand, dismiss the threat of electronic books.

"The future of books has been vigorously debated, with the conclusion reached that, yes, e-books are a competitor," said David Norman; "but so is e-commerce with all of our other divisions."

In other statements, he said he hoped to avoid any closures of the 57 Whitcoulls and five Borders stores, but it depended on talks with landlords and so forth.  He also went to some length to reassure worried staff, saying that their company (James Pascoe Ltd.) had a long history of takeovers, and would offer jobs to all staff except senior management, which JPL would replace with their own.

JPL has a good record of reviving businesses, and is strongly committed to investment in their stores, stock, and staff.

Elsewhere, optimism has been expressed that vouchers and book tokens will be honored at full face value.  When the chain first hit problems, there was widespread fury at an administrative decision to honor book tokens only if goods to twice the face value were bought.

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