Strange Brew

One For The Books

By G. David Doran

Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Circuit City--they're not called category killers for nothing. So imagine bookstore entrepreneur A. David Schwartz's surprise upon learning that the big guys aren't always the bad guys.

When the president of Milwaukee-based Harry W. Schwartz BookShops learned late last year that his biggest supplier, Ingram Book Group, was being bought by his biggest competitor, Barnes & Noble, he was certain his days were numbered.

But nearly six months later, Schwartz's four-store chain is still going strong. That's due in part to a business deal with his former Goliath--as Schwartz now receives a credit toward service usage fees. Although he's grateful, Schwartz knows Ingram/Barnes & Noble isn't being friendly for the heck of it--Schwartz happens to be one of the distributor's better customers, and severing the relationship would probably harm the parent company's bottom line.

"It's a difficult emotional issue to have the success of your number-one distributor rely on the success of your number-one competitor," says Schwartz. "But this is capitalism, and there's no room for emotions."

Contact Source

Harry W. Schwartz BookShops, (414) 270-3434,

« Previous 1 2 Page 3

Like this article? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kindle Fire.

This article was originally published in the June 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Strange Brew.

Loading the player ...

This New Orleans Start Up Is Turning The Tables On The Restaurant Industry

Ads by Google

Share Your Thoughts

Most Shared Stories

15 Signs You're an Entrepreneur
Want Media Attention? Target Trades First
Is It That Important to Be Nice?
Limor Fried: Pink Hair, Managing Growth and Keeping It Real
The 80/20 Rule and How to Supercharge Your Sales and Marketing