Bordering on the End
Well, Borders has finally succumbed to the inevitable and is now headed toward liquidation. Pundits of every kind are now chiming in on how this is a sign of the demise of books and the book industry. All authors are supposed to be scared and ready to give up the dream of publishing a best-selling novel. Well, I disagree.
Barnes & Noble seems to still be doing fine. Amazon is still considered a great seller of books. Even used bookstores still thrive. What that says to me is the demise of Borders has more to do with their poor business model and inability to adapt to the changing environment of how books are marketed and sold. For example, they helped in the squashing of many independent booksellers by offering more titles at an equal or better price in a “cool new environment” to buy books. Then they backed away from mimicking small bookstores and focused their attention on only shelving best sellers and well-known names. The audience that enjoys that unique voice in the publishing industry, the one that isn’t a best seller yet still had a home at small stores, was pushed to online orders only. So basically, Borders helped eliminate competition and then stopped filling the niche their competition was known for. Stupid, stupid move.
Then to top it off, they failed to have a positive online image to compete with Amazon or their other big box store competition of Barnes & Noble. So, by failing to compete with their main competition online, with digital books, or even compete with the small stores they helped to almost eliminate, Borders sealed their own fate. As I writer am I concerned?
People still read books. Whether it be in digital or print format, society still craves the written word to take them away to a new land. Most movies made today that are not remakes are based off of books. So, even if people prefer movies, they still need books to base those movies off of–which then usually boosts sales of those books. (the most successful movie franchise in history is based on a series of books–Harry Potter)
The demise of Borders only means that more people will now join the oversized ranks of the unemployed in America. And it may mean the chance for the independent and personal bookstore to rise again. Oh, and I may also be able to pick up a few bestsellers at a discount during the liquidation sale.