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19 Jul

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Borders Goes Under, Who’s Next?

July 19, 2011 | By | 3 Comments

The Borders Group, which still operates 399 bookstores, announced Monday that it will proceed with a liquidation plan after no buyers were found during the bankruptcy auction.  Borders’ website still claims that, “Borders stores are open for business.  Borders.com is operating as usual,” but according to the liquidation plan stores will begin closing Friday. The liquidation plan which will be presented to a bankruptcy judge Thursday will put Borders’ 10,700 employees out of work by the end of September.

“Following the best efforts of all parties, we are saddened by this development. The headwinds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, e-reader revolution, and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now.” – Borders’ President, Mike Edwards

Borders had their doors open for 40 years, but due to lack of digital or new technology development and adoption they went under.  Still think Amazon is a small fry? Amazon.com must be throwing a party! The closing of almost 400 stores eliminates many of the books that were on shelves, creating a greater need for ordering hard copies online and buying eBooks.  Books-A-Million, which tried to buy a small part of Borders will now duke it out with Barnes & Noble to try to slow Amazon’s dominance.

This change signifies that the book industry must be inundated with social commerce.  Consumers want to see ratings and comments before they buy something.  Lola at the Borders store is not nearly as helpful as the 30 reviewers that shared comments on Amazon.  Technologies and services change regularly but companies like Borders and Blockbuster who fail to keep up with the times will fall quickly.  It will be interesting to see what happens to other bookstores as print continues to be abandoned globally.

What expectations do you have for booksellers in the future?  Can BAM (Books-A-Million) or Barnes & Noble keep up with Amazon’s digital footprint and avoid the same fate as Borders?

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