Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Borders going bust

The end is near. I can feel it. I don't know if it's wise to cheer though. I first heard the news that Borders was going up for sale from a reading at Melville House on C-SPAN. I've now got my confirmation that it's true. The country's largest book chainstore is going bust. B&N is thinking of mopping them up. Yeah.

From Associated Content by Les Jacobs:
"Borders Bookstores May Be Up for Sale" —

Borders Group Inc., the second-largest bookstore chain in the United States after Barnes & Noble Inc., announced today that it will be exploring strategic alternatives, including the sale of the company or its divisions in order to maximize shareholder value, according to a statement released to PR Newswire.

...To jump-start sales, the bookstore chain is sharply increasing the number of titles it displays on shelves with the covers face-out, according to the Wall Street Journal. Because that takes up more room than how books are traditionally displayed in Borders stores, the new approach will require a typical Borders superstore to shrink its number of titles by 5% to 10%.

This is more than a credit problem. Trust me on this one. This is just the beginning. I know that facing out strategy. It means your running out of books and your "turn" is out of wack. ("Turn" meaning replacement of books sold.) Those who have put all their eggs into the basket of a large corporate book distribution system are about to get the beating of their life. Books are not widgets. Books are a part of our culture and should be treated as such. Making them into throw away goods is bound to lead to disaster. The best way to handle books is like how we should handle food: small scale and local. But the corporate entities and the customer's don't want to see it like that. Bigger is always better, right? And so here we go. I've got my popcorn, so let the show begin.


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