so it goes.

Borders has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The linked article mentioned that borders didn’t even have an e-commerce site until 2008, almost ten years after Amazon started theirs. (For five or six years prior to Borders.com, Borders actually had Amazon do the e-commerce for them.  Talk about a bone-headed management move.)  With visionary management like that, it’s no wonder they ended up with over a billion bucks of debt.

I’m waiting for an official list of store closures to see if we’re going to lose the West Lebanon location, which is the only big bookstore in a sixty-mile radius.  On a plus side, I’ve been checking out more of the local independent booksellers in the area.

Update: Here’s the official list of closings. Looks like West Leb has ducked the hatchet, but the Borders down in Nashua is going.

17 thoughts on “so it goes.

  1. Mike Dodson says:

    Although it isn’t finalized (probably has to be approved by the bankruptcy court, first), the list of proposed store closings is at http://media.bordersstores.com/content/mediarelations/BSRClosinglist.pdf

    We don’t have one in my area, so I guess I won’t be missing it. I buy most of my stuff via Amazon as they usually beat everyone else’s prices, even after adding on postage/handling.

    The Last Wife is looking hard at Kindle and Nook E-readers. Perhaps I’ll end up with no paper books, especially when I can get most books for $9.99.

  2. Jim says:

    I hate seeing any bookstore close, but most of my affection is commanded by the small independents, sellers who are in the business in large part because they love working with books and readers. There is one left in my small community, and couple of times a year I’ll buy something from her at full-caliber retail in an admittedly symbolic show of support.

  3. Jeez. One the one hand I want to see our locals thrive. On the other, I always get some good deals on things from our Borders, too. So it goes, indeed.

  4. Chris says:

    Bummer. Borders tends to have more and better gun book/magazine selections. Yeah, I know I can order all sorts of stuff online, but being able to visit Borders with my family and walk out an hour later with a bag of books for everyone (and a cup of joe) is nice. We have B&N here too, but I prefer Borders.

    Chris

  5. Tam says:

    I always liked Borders better than B&N, but they suffered from over-expansion and it took them way too long to find out that they have the internet on computers now.

    • Tam says:

      Looks like the 2-story store in downtown Indy is a goner. I used to patronize that one whenever Shootin’ Buddy and I were downtown for dinner & a movie.

      Oh, well…

  6. Atom Smasher says:

    When I was at UM, I used to love going into their first store in Ann Arbor. It was, at the time, so cool and unique and hugemongous and soothing. If you liked books, it made you feel good.

    Then a few years later when I worked for an ISP that shared a building with their HQ and they were pushing us out right at our lease deadline they threatened to take an actual chainsaw to our actual trunk lines when there was a delay with our new digs – had to prep our London office for a complete rollover while our legal team tried to convince a judge to grant us a stay for a week or two.

    So, goodbye, Borders – it was a nice ride, and I saw both ends.

  7. Phil says:

    Looks like the two Borders I have visited near here are on the chopping block.

    I can’t say I’m terribly broken up; I always preferred Barnes & Noble, but B&N isn’t usually in the malls themselves around here (sometimes, not always). But then, since I bought a Nook last fall, I haven’t done much purchasing of actual paper books.

    B&N may have been following on Borders’ heels, but it’s looking like their Nook business may be what hauls them back out of the fire.

  8. Eric says:

    Metro Orlando, FL is losing 4 of 5 stores, Tampa is losing 2. The shocker is San Francisco is losing both of their stores, leaving SF without a major bookstore.

  9. ZerCool says:

    At least here, Borders method of organizing books makes ZERO sense to me. Is it sci-fi or fantasy? Perhaps mystery? Or has it been in print long enough to qualify under that more-respectable title of “literature”? The aisles are narrow and the shelves are tall: in other words, DARK. The cafe is generally swarmed by people who have a laptop open and a long-empty mug or cup of something collecting dust behind it.

    They’ve run themselves into the ground; our local mall’s is closing and we’ll see how long it takes for another marquee to take up that space.

  10. Al Terego says:

    Actually the Tampa Bay area is losing five, including the one in Clearwater where my daughter the fourth grade teacher takes her kids occasionally for Children’s Hour, some coffee and R&R for herself, and maybe grab something from the closeout stack. They can spend a couple hours there and spend ten bucks if that.

    So I guess she and those like her are Borders’ problem; you can’t pay for prime real estate, a two million dollar building, and twenty fresh-faced college-kid clerks if the free ancillary services are almost the only things that get “bought”.

    Marko actually presciently got to the root of the problem some time ago in a post about those who will go to his fave book place, occupy a table, use the wi-fi, and take whatever else they can get for free without any thought toward an actual purchase. My daughter always spends something, but there’s no way they can pay those bills with per capita sales like that.

    Borders won’t be the last of the so-called big-box or category-killer specialty stores that sprung up over the last decade in anticipation of becoming the Wal-Mart of their particular niche, to themselves be killed. If they’d looked a little closer they would see that Wally doesn’t give away a damn thing except as a loss-leader intended to drive an additional nail into the competition’s coffin, and they don’t mess with anything they can’t buy cheaper than anybody else and sell by the truckload.

    And you’d think it would be obvious to the MBA’s calling the shots that a business model that requires the overhead mentioned above, and has as its primary competition a cyber-outfit whose only costs to do business involve processing information and logistics would have a limited, umm, shelf life…but if it wasn’t before, I guess it is now.

    AT

  11. The one near me is closing, but I never went there because it was always so much more expensive. The only thing I’ll miss is perhaps the competitive pressure it put on the other stores.

  12. Montie says:

    Tulsa lost one, but fortunately the one that I frequent was spared the axe.

  13. Will says:

    The closest one looks good for the moment. They really changed the setup over the last few years. Scaled down some of the categories. Whacked the sci-fi section quite a bit. Half of it seems to be books based on the teenager/vampire genre. Customer numbers have dropped quite a bit, especially compared to 10 years ago. They close an hour earlier, which is annoying. San Jose area is losing a bunch of them. Lots of laptop users at night, in the cafe section. Expensive food/drinks there, so they must be making some income from them. I notice a more limited selection for them, though.

  14. Bill says:

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    You may or may not recall, but Borders was among the cowards who pulled Reason magazine from the shelves because they had the audacity to reprint the Mohammed cartoons in the issue they did on the subject.

    A BOOK STORE practicing censorship because they were too chicken of offending the “vast” number of Muslims in this country too sensitive to take a debate on the subject?

    I’ve been boycotting them for years. Glad to see them going down the tubes.

    • Marko Kloos says:

      Not that I agree with their decision, but a private business can’t practice censorship by definition. They’re not the government, and are free to not sell whatever they choose. That’s why I don’t call it “censorship” when Wal*Mart has special “non-explicit” versions of music CDs on their shelves on occasion, or when they don’t carry any books on atheism on the shelves, to avoid offending the small number of Christan customers who would take offense, vocally.

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