Monday, March 26, 2007

Borders Threat to Quit Scotland

Borders - Closure ThreatBookshop giant Borders last week threatened to close all of its stores in Scotland and the UK.

The surprise announcement, which potentially threatens up to 2000 jobs across the country, could see the sale of one of the most important book chains who have bases in Edinburgh and Glasgow city centre.

The US-based company has had its flagship store at the former Royal Bank of Scotland site in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street since 1998, and the prospect of the store disappearing from the A-listed building will be a massive blow to Glasgow.

They also have a store in Fort Kinnaird on the outskirts of Edinburgh, as well as four other smaller stores around Scotland.

The threat to sell off the 71 chain of UK stores follows an announcement in February that Borders' overseas arm - 70% of which is concentrated in the UK - lost over a quarter of a million pounds in the last trading year, against a profit of £6million the previous year.

The company said it was considering the sale as part of a "strategic review" brought on by the "challenging retail environment".

The news also comes after HMV, which owns Waterstone's, issued its second profits warning since the start of the year and announced a rescue plan to try to boost flagging sales, which could see the closure of up to 30 Waterstone's outlets.

Bookworld, BArgain Books, and BW are also closing branches throughout Scotland, as reported here a couple of weeks ago, as the industry by the whole attempts to stave off competition from online book outlets.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Harry Potter Immortalised on Postage Stamps

Scottish author JK Rowling has had her popular Hogwarts characters immortalised on postage stamps in France.

The collection of ten stamps featuring Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, were unveiled at La Fete du Timbre et de l'Ecrit 2007 (Festival of Stamps and Writing), which runs for the month of March in 118 cities and villages around France.

The release of the stamps comes during the build up to the next Harry Potter instalment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is due for release on July 21st. The stamps are the result of collaboration between Warner Bros. Consumer Products and La Poste, the French Postal.

"To be immortalized on a postal stamp ranks among the highest of honours," said Brad Globe, WB Consumer Products supremo.

The Harry stamp can be used for domestic priority mail, the Ron Weasley stamp for slow domestic mail, and the Hermione Granger stamp for international mail.

The Harry Potter images will also appear on other stationary material, such as Harry Potter writing paper, a correspondence kit and a stamp album.

The stamps will only be available for a limited time from participating post offices in France. They cost 6.18 Euros (£4.20).

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Glasgow Art Fair Set to Break Records

Glasgow will see its biggest ever Art Fair event to be held in the city this year. A record number of galleries have applied to showcase work, at what is now widely considered to be the most prestigious contemporary art fair outside London.

The event, which takes place from April 19th to 22nd, has already sold advance tickets via the Internet for the first time.

Forty-three galleries, including eleven from Glasgow, will be exhibiting work from over 1000 artists. Nine galleries will be showing for the first time in a specially erected tented village in George Square.

Last year a record 16,000 visitors attended the event, run by Glasgow City Council, to admire and purchase original pieces of art. More than 1200 pieces of art totalling £1.1million were sold.
Organisers say the increase in exhibitors last year was proof of the popularity of the event with galleries as well as buyers. Lord Provost Liz Cameron said: "The Glasgow Art Fair has been an essential part of Glasgow's thriving cultural life for more than a decade now."

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Pride and Prejudice Voted UK’s Top Read

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, the classic Jane Austen novel, has been voted the nation’s favourite in a UK poll mark the recent World Book Day,

The Jane Austen novel was chosen by 20% of the 2000 people surveyed online, and it proved popular with almost every age group. The under-18’s voted it second to the Harry Potter series.

In second place came Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien with 17% of the vote, and in third, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte with 14%.

The Harry Potter novels came in overall fifth with under 12% of the total, while Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird totalled less than 10%. The Bible ranked sixth in the list, although it ranked fourth by both the 43-60 and over 60’s age groups. It was placed 19th by the under 18’s and came in two places above Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, considered by many to be of an anti-religious theme, which came in eighth with 6%.

Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights was voted seventh with 8.5 %, while His Dark Materials and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four tied for eighth place.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens completed the top ten list.
Other contemporary books that featured in the top 100 include Bridget Jones's Diary (68), Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (69), Sebastian Faulks's Birdsong (17), and Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code (42). Celebrity biographies fail to register in the top 100.

Male voters picked The Lord of the Rings as their favourite book, with Pride and Prejudice at number six, while Jane Austen was placed as number one by women, who voted The Lord of the Rings fifth.

Sue Horner, of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said: "All these books have a timeless quality, whenever they were written. It is likely that many of them are lasting favourites, first encountered at school."

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