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I’m back blogging, folks. The travails of completing a dissertation have drained me of any interest I might have in blogging or doing much creative writing over the last couple months. I’m not done with the dissertation, not by a long shot, though I still hope to defend next Spring, but life goes on and I hope to resume regular blogging and book reviews. I have a few reviews lined up over the next few weeks, and some interesting book-related news pieces I’ll relate as well (been saving those up).

Let me start with a news item and the rest will follow in the days to come: Borders, as we all know (I last blogged about it at the end of April), has been in serious trouble for at least the last year, though it’s been in slow decline for the last few. It entered Chapter 11 a few months ago, and has not yet been able to produce a plan to bring it out of its apparent death spiral. Well, I suspect that it’s going to bite the dust, and sooner rather than later. The latest and greatest deal to save Borders fell through and it looks like it’s facing liquidation next week. This does not bode well for the remaining 399 Borders stores or their employees.

Keep in mind that Barnes & Noble, the only other big book retail chain in the U.S., is also not doing terribly well, though it’s managed to survive better than Borders because it jumped into online book retail on its own fairly early on, and its eBook/eReader business is still pretty viable as the biggest competitor to Amazon. A billionaire businessman (wouldn’t we all like to be described that way?) by the name of John C. Malone has expressed an interest in B&N, and is purportedly interested in taking the company private. There’s been a lot of discussion as to why Malone, a demonstrably smart guy, would want to spend $1 Billion on a company in a dying industry, with most speculating that he’s primarily interested in the eBook side of the company. Should be interesting to see if this deal ends up going through.