Thursday, February 24, 2011


I've read quite a few posts about the bankruptcy reorganization of Borders. They all seem to have the same assumption that the reason for Borders financial trouble is due to the surgence of ebooks. I don't agree with that assumption. Borders sells books AND movies AND music. A loss of book sales to ebooks which is only a small percent of total book sales should not have had a catastrophic effect on their business. It makes just as much sense to only blame the record industry or the movie industry for their financial troubles.

A better assumption to make is that they are victim of the downturn in the economy from the past few years. I was out driving around earlier today and everywhere I looked there was evidence of the recent recession, closed storefronts, empty shops, weeds growing in front of the stand alone stores.

And what Borders sells, books, movies, and music, are not necessary commodities. If you have to choose between buying a new book or buying food, most people will buy food. It's really amazing that they were able to hang on for so long when other businesses went under.

They might have been able to stay in business if they had a better selection or chose to focus on one product instead of trying to be all things to all people. The last time I went into Borders, I was using a gift card that I had received. I was really disappointed in their selection of books. Even their selections for bestselling authors was pathetic.

Books-a-Million has a better selection of books than either Borders or Barnes and Noble. But they only sell books and magazines and book paraphernalia. I find this really interesting, because fifteen years ago Books-a-Million had the worst selection of books. We used to say that they had a million of the same book.

Will Barnes and Noble go the same way as Borders? If they don't do something about their selection of books, then they probably will.

1 comment:

  1. I actually love Borders. I was quite relieved that the one in our city wasn't one of the ones slated to close. The thing is I love all sorts of bookstores--independently owned ones, and corporate ones alike. I'm extremely saddened that because of this economy many of our favorite bookstores are closing. I agree with you completely--food will always come first before books. Survival is priority in this recession and the need to fill our bellies will come before the need to fill our minds.