Borders Group and Sprout Announce Alliance

Posted on June 1, 1999

Sprout, Inc., a digital book wholesaler, and Borders Group, Inc. have announced an alliance to advance Sprout's print-on-demand capabilities and ultimately to introduce the service to Borders customers. Specifically, Borders will acquire a minority interest in Sprout and will install Sprout's digital, on-demand book production facility in Borders' LaVergne, Tenn., fulfillment center, which services Borders.com and stores. Borders also plans to work with Sprout and publishers to expand the Sprout title database.

"Service and selection have always been Borders customer service hallmarks," said Rick Vanzura, President of Borders Online. "We believe Sprout's advanced technology will greatly enhance the customer experience in both of these critical areas."

The Sprout method of distribution will ultimately increase the number of titles that are immediately available for sale while also providing publishers an alternative way to produce and distribute books. Sprout plans to actively market its service to other retailers and book publishers.

"This is a revolutionary new way of selling books," said Pat Brannan, Sprout's CEO. "Our technology should help eliminate the availability and returns problems that have plagued this industry."
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