Bye, Buy Borders?

Borders Books filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this Wednesday. Their stock has fallen below $1/share (last I looked it hovered around $0.10/share.) The CEO has promised a recovery. The company will close 1/3 of the existing stores and “reorganize.” This time last year, there were three Borders stores in the KC that I know of—two on the Kansas side and one in Lees Summit, MO. There may have been another north of the river but I’ve never seen it.

Border’s CEO sent the message below via e-mail to everyone who was in the “Border’s Bucks” program.

I’m a “Border’s Bucks” program member. It has saved me some money of the past few years. But I’ve not bought a dead-tree book since last summer. I’ve gone digital.

Border’s website is…I’m a loss for words to describe how cumbersome, slow, inefficient, slow, crippled it is for ebook users. For example, to sort by author name is not an option. You can browse through ebooks by author name A-Z or Z-A, by release date (current to past and vice versa), by price (low to high and high to low), but you have to jump through numerous hoops to list ebooks by a single writer.

Brick ‘n Mortar stores are fading. On-line is in and if Borders wants to survive, the first thing they’ll do is replace—in its entirety, their website.

I hate to see any bookseller go under. But Darwin’s law applies to business as well. So far, Borders is not surviving.

5 thoughts on “Bye, Buy Borders?

  1. We have only one in Anchorage, and it's closing. It's a nice store, tastefully decorated, and it's a dinosaur.

    I haven't bought a paper book in 18 months, and now read everything via Kindle.

  2. I looked through the list and noticed that CA and the high-tax states were losing more than the lower tax states. KC originally had 4 stores. Now there'll be two. (There may be another on the other side of KC but I can't confirm that 3rd store.)

    That pattern of closing is indicative. We have two B&N stores both on the Kansas side.

    Guess we just read more here in fly-over country.

  3. Things always change! I was the proprietor of an independent bookstore just at the time the chains hit town. They were big, they were powerful, and they got better deals from the publishers and distributors….and they were 'new' and fancy and had armchairs and coffee bars. An old-fashioned bookstore, keeping records on 3×5 cards, in a small town, just couldn't remain viable.
    In a small way I must admit I get a little feeling of 'payback' seeing their problems. Turns out that there is another quicker and less expensive way to read a book (see Amazon) via online ordering and ebooks. I believe the Borders in Lee's Summit is hanging on–and they always appear fairly busy as I pass by.
    I tried Christmas before last to buy something there and the line snaked from the registers (2 of them!) to the back of the store. I stood there like a dope until I wised up, put back my item, and came home and rang up Amazon. I believe my CD was on its way to me from there well before I would have made it to the register.
    I find the Kindle to allow me to read for less money–which is important–but also it allows me to keep my book storage space for the 'keepers' I enjoy buying. Now the Old Gentleman and my father enjoy them as well. My father, at 90, reads about three kindle books a week and zips in and out of Amazon to find his next collection for reading.
    I still love a traditional bookshop but don't hold much love for the chains. The days of personal bookselling is gone for the most part and just as in other stores, you now have to serve yourself. Why drive, park, and walk for no service when you can serve yourself right in your home?

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