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Borders Books: A painful time to be a megabookstore

 
 
Reply Wed 16 Feb, 2011 09:35 pm
On the eve of the news that Borders Books megabookstores will be closing 200 (30% of the company's brick and mortar stores) will you be losing your local bookstore?

Will you be shedding a tear for the former book behemoth? Or do you feel they got what's coming to them?

http://www.npr.org/2011/02/16/133802286/borders-plans-to-close-30-percent-of-stores
http://www.npr.org/2011/02/16/133814471/filing-for-bankruptcy-borders-hits-troubled-times
The list of stores on the chopping block:
http://media.bordersstores.com/pdf/Borders_Reorganization_Closure_List.pdf
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Type: Discussion • Score: 21 • Views: 6,703 • Replies: 126

 
Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Feb, 2011 09:46 pm
I don't feel they "got what's coming to them", but the market changes and those who do not adapt die out. Border resisted on-line sales and shrugged at Amazon, they gambled and lost. Most stores have a lifespan as we can see by the extinction of Woolworth, A&S, Gimbals, Caldor, Altman's etc. I hope to see the burial of the Big Boxes in my lifetime when their bloated, cheap oil, shoddy construction, warehouse-on-wheels model becomes the next dinosaur.
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 06:42 am
@Green Witch,
I would love to see the wntire "shopping mall" centered around some big boxes done away with. Its such a land eater and most of the stores have a finite life like Borders .

"Getting whats coming to thme" is kind of a schadenfreude . I admit that I love to go into a big bookstore and browse. I often do impulse buying of books and mags and a bookstore is the best way to let me know what exists in fields other than my main craft.
How can AMazon let me "browse"?
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 06:52 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
How can AMazon let me "browse"?


I browse on Amazon all the time. There are things that you can do on Amazon, that you can't do in a bookstore. On Amazon, not only can you read the professional review of the book, you can read the reviews of readers like us.

In many cases, there are books that have dozens or even hundreds of opinions.
When I look up a book, one of the first thing that I do is look at the reviews that were given one star. If I get a similar opinion from many readers, I take the review more seriously. This tactic is particularly effective if there are a lot of reviews.

I have a Kindle, and I buy books from Amazon. Often, I have found that the reader reviews were far more valuable to me than the critics' reviews.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 06:59 am
we really only have one big box book store here in Canada (Chapters/Indigo), they bought up the major mall competition a few years back (Coles), and they seem to be holding on so far

i still love a good independent bookstore, and a good used bookstore is like a little slice of heaven on earth
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 07:41 am
@djjd62,
Quote:
a good used bookstore is like a little slice of heaven on earth


I agree. I think though that you can't compare a little used bookstore with the big book sellers, like Barnes & Noble and Borders. The little shops IMO get a completely different demographic.

Unfortunately, over the next few decades, when most reading is done on e readers, the won't be very many used books. Today there was an article in my local paper where the school systems are giving kids Kindles instead of textbooks.

I can foresee a time when a book will be a curiosity, something to be seen in a museum. Hey, I am sure that when books were first created, the folks who read stuff on parchment were longing for the "good old days". Time marches on.
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 07:52 am
@tsarstepan,
I have mixed feelings. I worked at a used bookstore for several years, and have always had favorite independent bookstores, and have viewed the big box bookstores (Borders, Barnes & Noble) as basically evil.

So that side is saying "Yay!

But I hope it means independent booksellers are able to take back some of the market, not that it's all Amazon and e-readers.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 07:52 am
I am amazed at the overhead in my local Barnes and Noble store - lounge areas, coffee shop, games, music dept., kids dept. with play area, huge magazine selection, teen gathering site, people playing tournament cards, people drinking coffee while reading books off the shelves -without purchasing them and tutoring sessions going on.

I have spent the entire day there and made little purchases.

Barnes will be the next one to go . . .




0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 07:54 am
@Phoenix32890,
i still do about 95% of my reading from real books, i've got a bunch of books on my ipod, but they're mostly collections of books i think i'd like to read but if i don't it's no big deal
0 Replies
 
George
 
  3  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 08:03 am
I see that the Borders in Burlington MA is on the list to be closed. Rats.
The Lovely Bride, Rhys and I often go (make that used to go) there of an
evening for a couple of pleasant hours. I like to grab a couple of books
and some mags, and get a cafe mocha at the cafe. Sip, browse, read. My
version of a good time.

So this is evil? They've it coming to them? I'm trying to understand what's
so bad here.
Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 08:06 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
How can AMazon let me "browse"?


Actually I see this as a big problem, not for novels, but for the big beautiful books aimed at professional or wannabe gardeners, architects, chefs, interior designers, naturalists, travelers etc. Amazon does their "look inside" feature, but right now all you get is the index and dedications on most books. I need to see the graphics and photos in these tomes even more than the text. I recently purchased a book on Venetian gardens from Amazon only to find out I already sort of owned it under a different title and cover art. They had used stocked photos so the book was basically a visual duplicate. It's expensive to return these books because of shipping costs. If I had just looked at it in a bookstore I would have put it back on the shelf and saved myself the trouble.
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 08:09 am
@George,
That part's not evil. The evil part is that Borders and Barnes and Noble (let's call 'em BBBS, big box book stores), were really devastating to small, independent bookstores in the 90's and early oughts. If you had a favorite independent bookstore, chances were very high that a Borders or B&N would spring up within a few blocks.

The BBBS had so much volume and institutional might at their disposal that they would cut costs of books way beyond what the small bookstores could do and stay afloat. So they sank.

I know, that's just business. That's when my grrring about the BBBS started, though. (At the small independent stores I could do the coffee, browsing, and reading, plus often a friendly store cat and friendly owners who knew you by name and would tell you about books you were likely to enjoy -- that sort of thing.)
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 08:57 am
@sozobe,
There's also this -- local independent stores benefit the local economy significantly more than the BBBS.

Quote:
Prior Retail Economics Research
Beginning in 2002, Civic Economics conducted a series of studies that have brought into the mainstream the notion that local independent businesses provide dramatically greater returns to their communities than do their chain competitors. These studies are summarized (and, in electronic versions of this document, linked) below:

 In Austin in 2002, we demonstrated that independent book and music retailers returned three times the share of revenue to the local economy as would a city-subsidized Borders across the street (45% of revenue compared to 13%).

 In the Andersonville district of Chicago in 2004, we applied the Austin methodology to a broader study set and found independents there returned 68% of revenue to the local economy compared to just 43% for selected chain competitors. Moreover, on a per square foot basis, the impact of independents reached $179 compared to $105 for their chain competitors.

 In San Francisco in 2007, we estimated the market share held by independent businesses in books, sporting goods, toys, and fast food, then applied the Chicago findings to estimate that a 10% shift in market shares from chains to independents would produce $192 million in annual economic impact, create 1,295 jobs, and lead to an additional $15 million in retail activity.

 In Phoenix in 2007, we applied the Austin methodology to demonstrate that a local, independent distributor of office supplies returned 33.4% of its revenue to the local economy compared to 11.6% for a national competitor with a Phoenix area distribution center. For a national competitor with no local facility, local impacts were so small as to be immeasurable.


http://www.civiceconomics.com/ICI_Report_Final.pdf
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 09:04 am
@tsarstepan,
Thanks for posting the list of stores - I heard last night and received an email this morning as I am a rewards customer, but didn't know which stores were closing. I did highly doubt that my local one was going to close as it is always very busy. Thankfully it is not. I love that store. And often times will reserve a book I want there - and go pick it up. I frequently have coupons off books and it is such a great location for me.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 09:06 am
@Green Witch,
I guess I love this particular store as I can always get the book I want - if they don't have, I can order and it comes within a reasonable amount of time. The people who work there are extremely helpful and go out of their way. There isn't much good customer service any more so this little bit makes the difference for me.

Also, "Pat" - lovingly referred to that by hubby and me because we've yet determine whether it is a he or she, is fantastic at that store.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 09:08 am
@George,
Guess people on the North Shore don't read as much as us on the South Shore.
farmerman
 
  4  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 09:40 am
@Phoenix32890,
Browsing is an aimless wander through a section , thus enabling me to decide which of a title in a subject are the better. I dont see how AMAzon can do that without wasting my time. "Looking inside" is a limited p[eek, while one of the things I always review in a live book is the resources listed and theindex, as well as the chapters and some of the content.

There were lots of books that came out after a 2005 court case involving the 1st amendment in Dover Pa. There were at least 15 books that came out within several months of the trail decision. Most pf the crappy ones were those that gave a huge page count to the written decision. A complete waste of paper, but yet , it was featured AMAzon book that had that section
"People who bought book A were also interested in Books "B through X" I was being marketed as some schlemeiel who couldnt decide for himself? I compared the books and unfortunately got screwed with an AMazon "pick". I later found what I needed by browsing a University book store.
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 10:12 am
I also want to hold my newspaper and see the entire page and all the sections. Lay it down and pick it up later.

My local newspaper is getting ridiculously small, It keeps referring me to its web site for additional stories.

I don't like this trend.
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 10:22 am
@PUNKEY,
I'm cured of newspapers, I like that I can go into the archives of papers/magazines and read stuff I missed the first time by doing an easy search. I really liked using an iPad for this type of reading and will probably eventually get one or a similar device.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  3  
Reply Thu 17 Feb, 2011 10:29 am
@farmerman,
i've bought hundreds of books by simply seeing a title on the spine and pulling it off the shelf and reading the cover blurbs, way harder to do on amazon, you can read the blurbs, but the browsing is not the same, most book store websites are great if you know what you're looking for
 

 
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