… but of Borders Books, the end has come. Why did Borders go out of business? And why is Barnes & Noble still going strong… at least for now?
I do not have much business sense, but in the 1990s and early 2000s, it did not take a business degree to make one wonder if there were enough book buyers to support all the giant book store chains: Bookstop, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Hastings, Books-A-Million… not to mention Half-Price Books and the varieties of other used book stores. Sure, there always are plenty of book browsers — I am one of those. Used to be a common sight in Borders that you would see college kids using the place like a reference library, pulling books off the shelves to do their homework, then leaving the books out on tables. Increasingly, my own browsing consists of writing down (and more recently on my iPad, typing in) names of books to add to my Kindle samples. When I do buy books, I buy on Kindle or I buy used at Half-Price Books. I seldom buy a new book at Borders or Barnes & Noble.
An article in the Michigan Business Law Review offers several reasons for the demise of Borders Books. You can read the details at the link below. For now, here is the list from that article:
1) Borders was too late getting to the Web. And when they did have a web presence, it was contracted out to Amazon.
2) Borders was too late to e-books. Heard of the Kobo? Well… there you have it…
3) Borders opened too many stores.
4) Borders had too much debt.
5) Borders over-invested in music sales.
The article concludes that Barnes & Noble is better positioned to market e-books, and so will survive longer. Even so, the closing of Borders might be the beginning of the end for large mall-like bookstores. Surprisingly, according to the article, independent bookstores actually increased last year. Go to this link for the complete article: http://blog.gersgrosslaw.com/2011/07/why-did-borders-go-out-of-business.html
All the same, Borders was my favorite, and I am going to miss them. When I lived in Houston, I often went to the one at the corner of Westheimer and Gessner. The place was a bibliophile’s heaven. Alas, the old book heaven has passed away, and you might say that now there is a new heaven (the Web) and a new earth (Kindle). And we are assured that of the making (and selling) of many e-books, there will be no end.