Agency CEO Hires Laid-Off Borders Workers to Sell His Book

Stunt makes example of failed chain

Well played, sir. To promote his book about the evolution of successful businesses, Aaron Shapiro has hired booksellers laid off from Borders, which he cites as a perfect example of a corporation that failed to adapt. Shapiro is CEO of digital agency HUGE and author of Users Not Customers, a business book focused on how industries must transition intelligently to the digital marketplace. Borders is a perfect cautionary tale, Shapiro writes: "At the start of 2011, after the company took back control of its Internet operations (from outsourced partner/competitor Amazon), online hardcopy sales accounted for less than 3 percent of Borders’ revenue—that’s less than a third of what Barnes & Noble derived from its online hardcopy sales. Then to add insult to injury, it was also late on the e-book craze, creating a me-too e-reader almost three years after Amazon introduced the Kindle." The result? Nearly 400 stores closed and 11,000 employees terminated. This week, Shapiro decided to highlight the debacle by having some of those same employees sell his book to passers-by from roving stands in New York. For added visibility, he also purchased the billboard shown below.