September 27 – October 4, 2007 Edition

New Borders UK
Owner Confident
in Future of Books

LONDON/9/25/07–Luke Johnson, the new owner of Borders U.K. told The Observer this week that he believes passionately in the future of books, but that “we’re not fooling ourselves that it will be easy” [to grow the business]. Johnson, a former Pizza Express executive, now heads Britain’s third largest bookseller which he recently acquired for £10m in a surprise move. Johnson is the son of historian and journalist Paul Johnson, and Johnson himself is the author of The Maverick: Dispatches from an Unrepentant Capitalist.

In The Observer interview he talks of plans for a new Borders online store and possible expansion into computer games and other products. ‘But actually the book market continues to grow, which is encouraging,’ said Johnson, whose office is lined with books. ‘I think people are reading more, and the fact is only about 30 or 40 per cent of people ever buy a book, so there is potential for a greater proportion of people to buy books.”

He said the chain had suffered from being a small part of the larger U.S. group. ‘It had a big parent a long way away.’ He also said he is confident in bookselling despite growing competition from supermarkets and the Internet.

Read the full observer interview:,,2175087,00.html

Borders UK has about 8% of the UK market. With his private equity firm, Risk Capital Partners, Johnson acquired the 42 Borders and 28 Books Etc stores in the UK and Ireland.