Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Was it my fault?

Eulogy for Borders

Seems it's been in the making for a while.  I have to give you credit for putting up a fight.  Jan. 27, 2011, GE Capital sent out a lifeline, allowed you to get a little closer to the surface.  But by July 18, 2011, the jig was up.  The trump card had been played but could not pull you through to keep the stores in survival mode.

My heart goes out to the people who will be left unemployed in the wake of Borders' liquidation.  As your press release stated, Borders currently operates 399 stores and employs approximately 10,700 employees. Subject to the Court's approval, under the proposal, liquidation is expected to commence for some stores and facilities as soon as Friday, July 22, with a phased rollout of the program which is expected to conclude by the end of September. Borders intends to liquidate under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code and, as a result, Borders expects to be able to pay vendors in the ordinary course for all expenses incurred during the bankruptcy cases.

10,700 people...a lot of jobs lost.

Perhaps the economy is to blame.  Maybe the ebook-olution, due to substantial advances in technology, should bear fault.  Whatever the cause - maybe even me for choosing Barnes and Nobles and Kindle ebooks - you must know that we appreciated the part you played.  Now it is time to say goodbye to your brick and mortar.

Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust.
Now, as an aspiring writer, I'm not fully sure how to feel about this.  Brick and mortar bookstores appear to be following the pattern of Blockbuster and Hollywood Videos when Netflix and Torrent streaming hit the scene.  The nearest physical Blockbuster I've seen is a blue box at the 7 Eleven down the street from my paying gig.  I'm sure a Redbox is somewhere nearby as well.

What say you about these events?  Will Barnes and Noble locations be next?  Do you prefer the feel of a hardcover book in your hand, or maybe a paperback edition?  Are eReaders you favorite?  Please feel free to share your thoughts. 


Raelyn Barclay said...

I love brick and mortar bookstores. I'm saddened by Borders going under and the jobs lost. I think the challenge bookstores (heck all businesses) face is our fast-paced, instant gratification, world. No one has the time...whether that's real or imagined.

I'd love to spend hours browsing a bookstore but I have four children and ordering online is often the only way I can get books. I think the bookstores who have an extensive online presence as well as physical stores will maintain. Yes, Borders did but my feeling is it was too little too late.

I love my e-reader but I also love my physical books and will continue to buy both :)

Angela Brown said...

@ Raelyn - you address a powerful pain-point that we don't really want to address. We are an instant gratification society, myself included (shame, shame).

I only have one child and going to the bookstore with her gets me my exercise for the day. Shopping for books online is easier and satisfies that instant gratification.

It's humbling to see the future of book publishing being shaped before our eyes.

Maria Zannini said...

It's kind of scary now that we lost a giant. But I can't imagine losing B&N. Not unless Amazon decided to open a brick and mortar store to finish them off.

Angela Brown said...

@ Maria - it is definitely scary. I hope B&N stay on their toes. I mean, nowadays, you can deposit a check by taking a picture of it on your phone through mobile banking. Technology is growing by more leaps and bounds than we realize. Next thing you know, we'll do virtual book browsing by expanding the holographic image of the 'bookstore' and purchasing that way.

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