Thursday, February 17, 2011

Run for the Borders, Oh, Wait Borders Are Closing

Run for the Borders, while you still can. No, this is not a hysterical plea to invade Canada or Mexico, though with Republicans in power one may be tempted yet again. 

When I was in my doctoral program, one of my fellow students and still wonderful friend was an advocate for the independent bookseller. I could see her point, so I tried to  give my hard earned cash to the independent stores, keeping the conglomerates at bay for a few years. As commerce happens, the little stores started dropping in number until they became as extinct as the paper library cards with handwritten return dates. At least this is the way it was in Modesto, CA. My friend lived near San Francisco, so had wider choices.

Now the big boys are in trouble. Borders Books, the 2nd largest bookstore chain in the U.S. has filed for bankruptcy. Borders had 6,100 employees in 508 stores nationwide, but plans to close 30% of them in an attempt to get their edge back. 

What is crushing them is basically technology. Barnes and Noble, numero uno in the biz, and have a much heftier supply of e-titles.

As the saying goes, "What goes around, comes around." There are probably a number of former independent bookstore sellers who are not disappointed with the news. 

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Starry said...

It seems I interpreted the news slightly differently:

I think you will enjoy reading my thesis ; )

I don't know if you've read BOOK PUBLISHING: Past, Present, and Future by Jason Epstein, but in that book he exposed in 2001 already that the bookstore chain system was unsustainable. It's a fascinating argument, starting at the culpability of mall culture. I highly recommend it.

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