Borders bookstores are officially closing their doors this summer, prompting many book lovers to find their reading material elsewhere.
Major bookseller, Borders, is closing all of its stores this summer, much to the dismay of many book lovers everywhere. Borders didn’t just sell books, either. Their catalog included music, videos, greeting cards, holiday décor, and some electronics. Many of the items Borders stores sold were unavailable anywhere else except online. Now, however, patrons of the mega-bookstore are forced to look elsewhere for their reading and listening needs.
Some would argue that Borders changed the way books and music were sold. At the beginning of the era of Wal-Mart and Target superstores, books were largely only available from local, independent booksellers. If you were looking for an obscure title, your bookstore clerk could probably order it for you, but you’d have to wait until it came in. Borders changed all that. With shelves upon shelves of fiction, poetry, drama, travel, cooking, religious, and self-help books – just to name a few genres – it was possible to be lost in the bookstore for hours, paging through numerous treasures.
In the music section, listening stations allowed patrons to listen to samples of CDs before purchasing them, something revolutionary before the onset of iTunes. Many people believe that Borders ruined the independent book and music store industry, but many more believe that Borders was a quiet refuge from a busy day, and looked forward to browsing the shelves.
Borders’ demise can be attributed to more than just a bad economy, though that was definitely part of it. When people are pinching pennies, it is difficult to justify extra purchases, such as books, music, and movies, especially when one can check most of those things out from the library or a movie rental store for a fraction of the cost. Borders definitely hit some bad luck in this tumbling economy, but with other mega-bookstores like Barnes and Noble staying open, we have to wonder: What was different?
First and foremost, Barnes and Noble released their e-reader, the Nook, shortly after Amazon introduced the Kindle to the market. This made Barnes and Noble competitive in e-book sales, whereas Borders was not. Borders did not release an e-reader until it was much too late in the game, and their e-reader was not comparable to the Nook or Kindle in the least. Borders also did not sell e-books or other digital media through their website like Amazon did, leaving them with a significant gap in profits.
When Borders announced they were closing their stores, they also announced several liquidation sales to get rid of their merchandise and try to recoup some losses. People who attended these liquidation sales report lines snaking through the shelves and out the door. Many who left with armfuls of books and CDs, however, complained of prices being higher than they had expected for a liquidation sale.
Apparently, many stores tout liquidation prices when closing, but only mark down a small fraction of their merchandise. The draw of a liquidation sale is enough to get people through the door, where they end up spending more money on items they want, and the seller gets even more profit. Of course, we can’t prove Borders did this, but many of their books and CDs were not marked down at all, so we are left to assume.
Where Do We Go Now?
If you were an avid patron of Borders, you may be wondering where to turn now for your reading material. There are several options for you. You can continue to visit stores such as Barnes and Noble or internet giant, Amazon.com. Also, you can usually find bestsellers at Target or Wal-Mart. Other options include purchasing an e-reader and buy books electronically, or visiting your local library.