Closing The Book On Borders: Liquidation


Anyone who’s been following the Borders saga is probably not surprised at the news that Borders is closing its remaining stores and liquidating. Like watching the decline of an ailing old friend, I’m somewhat relieved that Borders will soon be out of its misery. All remaining stores may close as early as this Friday.

Goodbye Borders

That Borders execs continued to seek bonuses even as the company sank, seems like some surreal necrophilic episode as this ordeal draws to a close. Much has already been made of the company’s failure to compete with Amazon and the rise of eBooks. But in the end, I think shortsighted, greedy executives killed what was once a great bookstore chain.

The demise of Borders is going to leave publishers with a lot fewer places to sell books and ultimately with a lot less leverage on Amazon. Like Apple was to the music industry, the demise of the large bookstore chain is casting Amazon into a similar role in publishing. If publishers want to stay in business and sell books, they have to play ball with Amazon whether in print or eBook format for the Kindle.

While Barnes & Noble can offer some alternative for publishers right now, it remains to be seen whether or not they themselves will escape Borders’ fate. Reports are that the Nook is doing well versus the Kindle, but the balance of our own eBook sales here at Learncrest points up an enormous Kindle advantage. Titles are moving on the Kindle but not so much on the Nook. And while Barnes & Noble stands to gain Borders customers in places where they have stores nearby, those readers farther away will likely turn to Amazon. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of marketing pitch B&N will make to woo those orphaned readers. Heavily discounted Nooks would be nice!

If anyone had any doubts that the book business had changed forever, they can be sure now. Rest in peace Borders old friend. Rest in peace.

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