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Goodbye Borders

Posted by Charles Gray on July 19, 2011

Borders will be completely shutting down.

NEW YORK, July 18 (Reuters) – Borders Group Inc (BGPIQ.PK), the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain, said it has canceled an upcoming bankruptcy auction and will close its doors for good.

The company said in a statement Monday it was unable to find a buyer willing to keep it in operation and will sell itself to a group of liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources.

Borders’ roughly 400 remaining stores will close, and nearly 11,000 jobs will be lost, according to the company.

There will be many post mortems, and god knows, Borders didn’t do everything right– store stock, the failure to quickly jump on board the electronic products B&N adopted, several decisions to remove books for other products that didn’t sell very well– Borders made several m issteps and failed to recover from them.

But before we get too hard on them, we should remember that we are in the worst recession since the Great Depression and there simply isn’t a lot of buying going on out there.  This doesn’t excuse their failures, but it might be in a more robust market, they could have survived those failures.

What happens now? Well for book sellers, another avenue for paper books has gone away which will be a mixed blessing– it might lead to more ebook sales, but on the other hand, it will also reduce the storefronts were casual buyers can browse.

Between the death of Borders, and the ending of Tokyopop, it is a bittersweet time for authors. Yes, we have ebooks and more avenues to publish them than ever before…but equally fewer places where you can just browse, not looking for anything in particular, just browse.

Some of my most treasured book experiences came about by that, and I’m not certain if you’re ever going to be able to repeat the experience with online ebook dealers.


2 Responses to “Goodbye Borders”

  1. Olivia said

    It’s sad that Borders went under. I feel guilty now for all the times I went in there and just read books with my coffee, then put the books back on the shelf and left. I’m sure I wasnt the only one. Hopefully.

  2. happyhyena said

    I did as well– I’m not certain how many people have been, but over the last six or so years most of my friends have drastically scaled back their book buying due to the economy, so I expect browsing without buying was pretty common.

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