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April 20, 2008


Mike DeWitt

Hi Jon,

Having worked on plenty of BI and web analytics systems, I am sure that Borders is collecting the relevant data. ItÅ› just a matter of building the analytic tools to get the answers to the key questions.


Rich Hauck

Well, considering Borders put itself up for sale in March, I doubt this is on their list of priorities . . .


Touche, Rich!


Alas, dear Jon, your quest for a logical and effective inventory search is not shared by Borders. Here are a couple reasons for this:

1) They spent a boatload of money only two years ago rolling out their "Borders Rewards" program (including new website design!) but there must not have been enough to implement your suggestions, which I don't doubt were raised by someone.

2)The idea to only show books currently available at the store would be detrimental to sales and customer retention because their system inventory typically does not reflect what is actually on the shelves. As a former employee, I recall looking up a book for a customer in the inventory system and finding that the store had -15 of that item. Yes, their inventory was in the negative. Or it would say 0, and I would find a dozen on the shelves.

Honestly, when you find yourself in such a situation again, it's easiest to do your browsing on Amazon (with the good search engine) and find a couple of books you like, then check the Borders website for specific availability, then call the store or request to reserve the book online. However, I can't promise that they'll be able to find it for you, because the inventory may be wrong!

p.s. I still like Borders, I'm just well aware of the store's shortcomings.

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