Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 04, 2016, 02:08:24 AM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?  (Read 9183 times)

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« on: February 12, 2011, 12:03:53 AM »
http://online.wsj.co..._hpp_LEFTTopWhatNews

Quote
Borders Group Inc. is in the final stages of preparing a bankruptcy filing, clinching a long fall for a company with humble beginnings that helped change the way Americans buy books but failed to keep pace with the digital transformation rocking every corner of the media landscape.

I'm kind of ambivalent. On one hand, I feel sorry for them, and on the other, I feel that it's their own fault for not embracing ebooks earlier.

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

MilesAhead

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 7,277
    • View Profile
    • Miles Ahead Software
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2011, 01:02:16 AM »
I wonder how long it will be until 2 people lamenting the demise of bookstores are interrupted by a grad student asking "what's a book?"

app103

  • That scary taskbar girl
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2006
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,666
    • View Profile
    • App's Apps
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2011, 02:30:48 AM »
Borders was always that bookstore in the mall that you went in by mistake because you didn't read the sign overhead to see it wasn't B&N. This was the problem long before ebooks came along.

cyberdiva

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2011, 04:25:49 AM »
Borders was always that bookstore in the mall that you went in by mistake because you didn't read the sign overhead to see it wasn't B&N. This was the problem long before ebooks came along.
Hi, app.  I guess our experiences were very different.  For me, B&N was never in the picture.  Borders blew me away when it first opened, and while I felt very sorry for the small independent bookstores that the victims of Borders' success, I was in awe of a bookstore that had on hand such a rich, deep assortment of books in so many fields, even rather esoteric ones.  It was a heady experience shopping at Borders in the early days.  I didn't accidentally walk into Borders by mistake, I deliberately went to the mall so I could shop at Borders.  I never found the same depth of holdings at B&N.

It was clear early on, though, even before e-books, that any physical bookstore, even one as mammoth as Borders, would have a hard time competing with Amazon.com, both in terms of availability and in terms of price.  I agree with you that Borders' troubles started before the rise of the e-book, but at least in my experience, the early threat was not B&N but rather Amazon.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2011, 04:27:49 AM by cyberdiva »

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,406
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2011, 05:15:20 AM »
I gave up on bookstores long long ago.

Over the years every bookstore I've known (except the second hand used bookstores) has transformed itself slowly but surely into a coffee shop and clothing store first, and bookstore second.  I don't even know why they call them bookstores anymore..

On one hand I sympathize with them, because a retail store just can't compete with the selection and fast release updates and user reviews that an online site like amazon can deliver.   If you want to go hang out and get a coffee and connect to the internet, a "bookstore" is still a nice place to lounge.  But the truth is that bookstores are just not very useful for people who want to go and find a book these days.

Fortunately online book shopping is a pretty wonderful experience (at least in the US); shipping is super fast, cheap, easy to find good reviews, easy to buy supercheap used editions, easy to return, etc.

I doubt we will have physical bookstores at all for very much longer -- though i guess that's probably going to be the case for all retail stores eventually.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2011, 07:11:33 AM »
The sad truth is that real bookstores appear to be going the way of the real hardware store and hamburger stand.

In a society that "knows the price of everything - and the value of nothing," something as valuable as a good bookstore doesn't stand a chance against 'free shipping' and '30% off.'

Amazon understands this well enough that they've incorporated a bar code scanner into their iPhone app. Scan a bar code and you can now add it to your Amazon shopping cart or wish list with one tap of your finger.

It's a brilliant strategy really. They don't come right out and say it. But the message is still clear: Shop anywhere - but buy from us.

And it will no doubt continue to work brilliantly for them. Right up until the day the last physical bookstore closes its doors one last time.

"So it goes."  :(

« Last Edit: February 12, 2011, 10:32:49 PM by 40hz »

app103

  • That scary taskbar girl
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2006
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,666
    • View Profile
    • App's Apps
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2011, 08:48:07 AM »
It was a heady experience shopping at Borders in the early days.  I didn't accidentally walk into Borders by mistake, I deliberately went to the mall so I could shop at Borders.  I never found the same depth of holdings at B&N.

It was clear early on, though, even before e-books, that any physical bookstore, even one as mammoth as Borders, would have a hard time competing with Amazon.

Go back before Amazon...go back to the 80's. Nearly every shopping mall around here had both a Borders and  B&N, with Borders being the smaller store with less stuff. At quick glance both stores looked the same from the outside, easy to mistaken one for the other if you didn't read the name on the sign overhead. The difference was when you went inside.

Borders was good for magazines...they seemed to have a lot of those. But they didn't take the same approach to stocking their books as B&N did.

They would stock a ton of a few popular titles in each category, where B&N only stocked a ton of the most popular titles and a few of plenty of less popular stuff. Because of this, B&N had a better chance of carrying what you were looking for if what you wanted wasn't on the best sellers list.

Now I am not sure if their stand alone stores were different, because I have only seen them in the malls around here. Maybe the stand alone stores were very different, due to the larger space.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2011, 09:25:28 AM »
Guess it depends on where you live.

The B&N and Borders where I live opened (with major media splashes) as stand alone stores.

We were all amazed by the size, range, and depth of their offerings. Prior to their arrival, bookstores in our area were mostly small, funky, very eclectic operations that were usually jammed into lofts or converted Victorian houses. Most were as much a labor of love as they were businesses.

Both the big stores offered aggressive discounts to their customers when they first opened. In-store discounts ranged from 10% to 30% off cover depending on what you bought. And most times, your purchase would "earn" you a register coupon worth $5 or an additional discount off on your next purchase. Didn't take long before the public voted with its wallet.

There was also the issue of store hours. Both big stores operated on an extended schedule. But Barnes & Noble took the cake on that one. For the first three years in operation, our B&N opened at 9:00am and closed at 11:00pm, Monday thru Saturday. On Sundays it was 10:00am to 10:00pm.

And in case you were wondering, B&N got busy between 9:00 and 11:00pm on many nights. People would be getting off the NYC train, or leaving a restaurant or a movie, and decide to stop in and get something to read on the way home. It was only a short while before a community of late night book buying "regulars" formed. And these regulars were most of its "heavy buyers" according to the store manager. (I know this because I asked her.)

Low prices, big selection, long store hours - combined with a polite and helpful staff (that understood standard English) - it was an absolutely killer marketing strategy.

The end result is that there are no longer any indy bookstores around where I live. And there are virtually no independent booksellers (i.e people that sell used on an informal basis out of their garage or barn) either.

Now, 20 years later, it looks like the online booksellers are about to run this same play on the "Big B Bookstores."

Guess it's true: what comes 'round goes 'round.  ;D
« Last Edit: February 12, 2011, 12:44:33 PM by 40hz »

MilesAhead

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 7,277
    • View Profile
    • Miles Ahead Software
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2011, 03:59:44 PM »
Aside from the books, the appeal of Borders for me was the jazz selection. Often I would find lesser-known titles for particular artists.  The prices were high so naturally I'd note the CD and try to get it online at a discount.

There must be big markup in coffee.  But the hidden cost of letting people loiter for hours after spending $2 probably caught up to 'em.

For awhile it was kind of fun to look through the computer magazines to see what weird flavor of Linux was included in the plastic magazine wrapper. :)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2011, 04:01:50 PM by MilesAhead »

zridling

  • Friend of the Site
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 3,292
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2011, 04:52:16 PM »
I have a confession. I worked at Barnes & Noble for three years and it's the best company by far I have ever worked for. They paid almost nothing, but it was a pleasure working with intelligent, curious people. If you got sick, they'd say, "Call us when you feel ready to come back to work." Made me want to work even when I was sick as a dog just because they trusted you.

As several noted, like software and music, there's almost no need to walk into a bookstore. And B&N spent zillions building stores independent of malls. Maybe they can expand the cafe.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2011, 05:59:22 PM »
^Disagree on the books side of the equation. I like to really carefully look over a book before I buy it.  Especially some of those $50+ paperbacks we computer people are so fond of. Customer reviews and sample pages (a la Amazon) are ok, but nothing equals spending 20 or 30 minutes over a coffee while carefully perusing two competing book titles before making your purchase decision.

Guess that's going to go the way of the dodo too.  >:(

Renegade

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 13,220
  • Tell me something you don't know...
    • View Profile
    • Renegade Minds
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2011, 07:50:24 PM »
^Disagree on the books side of the equation. I like to really carefully look over a book before I buy it.  Especially some of those $50+ paperbacks we computer people are so fond of. Customer reviews and sample pages (a la Amazon) are ok, but nothing equals spending 20 or 30 minutes over a coffee while carefully perusing two competing book titles before making your purchase decision.

Guess that's going to go the way of the dodo too.  >:(

You remind me of once when I was in a bookstore here in Melbourne with my wife. I just about had a heart attack at the nutty prices - 2x and 3x the USD price printed on the back. I commented to my wife, "Bookstores are for looking at books. Online is where to buy them."

Computer books were expensive in Seoul, but nothing like they are here.

Like you say, $50+. One book I bought a number of years ago was $130 on sale. Checking now the list is $170 and you can get it for $100. I hate to imagine what it would cost here. $200? $300? $400?

One of my favorite things when I was a kid was ordering books at school. We'd get a list of books that we could buy. When they finally came, it was uber-joy~! :D I remember one of the books, "Who is Bugs Potter?" It was such a joy to read. It was about a kid that wanted to be a drummer. Band names in the book included "Nuclear Tea Pot". I think the publisher was "Apple Paperbacks". Other favorites were the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series.


When it comes to ebooks, I print them out and bind them. I'd posted a bit on that here in this thread.

I suppose it would make sense for someone to sell a "do it yourself book binding kit" as I can see that becoming more popular as people switch to buying digitally, but prefer reading physical print.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2011, 10:19:09 PM »
One of my favorite things when I was a kid was ordering books at school. We'd get a list of books that we could buy. When they finally came, it was uber-joy~! :D I remember one of the books, "Who is Bugs Potter?"

Wow! We had that at my school too. It came through a company called Scholastic Book Services. I still remember one of the books I got from that program. It was called Young Scientist Looks at Skyscrapers by Dr. George Barr.

YSB01.jpg

It was the first of several books by that author that I read as a kid, my favorites being Research Ideas for Young Scientists and More Research Ideas for Young Scientists. These books introduced you to the scientific method. They taught you how to do background research, basic experimental design, accurate record keeping, and report generation while conducting experiments on topics such as the weather, animal behavior, simple chemistry, and physics.

YS02a.jpg

These books encouraged you to go and find out about things that puzzled you.

It may sound trite, but Barr's books completely changed my life. They taught me to think scientifically and, even more importantly, how to conduct simple but very serious research. Those projects triggered a love for 'doing' science that has stayed with me till today.

On a lark, I looked these books up on Amazon, and found some of Barr's titles are still available used.

I was also gladdened to discover the series still continues, albeit updated with slightly different titles. Apparently the phrase "Young Scientist" must have offended somebody, or came to be considered 'sexist,' because the new books have replaced the term "Young Scientist" with "Young People."  :-\

YS004.jpg  YSB005.jpg

Not that it matters. It's just great to see books like this are still being published.  :Thmbsup:

« Last Edit: February 12, 2011, 10:46:43 PM by 40hz »

cyberdiva

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 982
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2011, 08:41:12 AM »
Go back before Amazon...go back to the 80's. Nearly every shopping mall around here had both a Borders and  B&N, with Borders being the smaller store with less stuff.
Again, our experiences are very different.  Where I live, both Borders and B&N usually started out in malls, but never in the same mall.  And the first Borders stores in my area were larger than the B&Ns.  Oh well, it hardly matters now.  Sigh.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2011, 08:43:05 AM by cyberdiva »

J-Mac

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 2,913
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2011, 10:39:15 PM »
Where I live there were always more Borders stores around than B&N. I usually went to Borders mainly because that was the first big box bookstore I ever used. I always felt that Borders and B&N were very close in quality, availability, etc. and so I just used the one that I was already familiar with. That is.... until I discovered Amazon.com! My first book purchase at Amazon was in early 1999 and I never looked back!

Jim

app103

  • That scary taskbar girl
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2006
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,666
    • View Profile
    • App's Apps
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2011, 12:21:08 PM »
Mark Evans worked for Borders from 2001 to 2009 as Director of Merchandise Planning & Analysis and Director of Merchandising Strategy & Analytics.

Here is his answer on Quora as to what happened: http://www.quora.com.../answer/Mark-Evans-9

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,406
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2011, 12:27:18 PM »
good read, thanks app  :up:

timns

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,211
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2011, 01:55:09 PM »
In retrospect, it makes sense. There was a huge Borders near where I lived in Brighton, and also a Waterstones just around the corner. Comparable in size and selection.

One day Borders got a coffee shop... then CD's appeared... then DVD's.

Waterstones carried on selling just books, and is still going strong. Borders is a big empty shell being refurbished into an Urban Beat. Or Barn? Can't remember. Something Urban. Not Keith, I know that much.

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,405
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2011, 02:50:41 PM »
A really good read... thanks!  One thing I think that was partly mentioned, but not really dwelt upon- Borders' approach to a lot of important markets was very piecemeal.  I think I understand a bit more after reading this why that was, but still...

Also, their prices were very high on the specialized markets they did get into.  I liked their selections of CDs and DVDs, but I rarely bought from them; I used a scanner on my phone to compare everything to amazon, and would browse there, and order from amazon.  I like the ability to browse a hard copy before buying, but when the price difference is so prohibitive, I wouldn't spend the money for the privilege.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2011, 02:52:46 PM by wraith808 »

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,406
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2011, 03:11:15 PM »
Quote
I used a scanner on my phone to compare everything to amazon, and would browse there, and order from amazon.  I like the ability to browse a hard copy before buying,

This is where i think the future is going.. There will no longer be different kinds of retail stores. There will be only generic "Browsing Shops" which have very high-tech 3d/tactile setups where you walk into a booth and can examine, feel, and just in general "browse" any product available on the internet.  Maybe some popular items will actually have demos in the store.  But nothing will be "in stock" in the store.  You'll just place your order and have it delivered later, or pay some small "browsing free" and order at home at your convenience.

MilesAhead

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 7,277
    • View Profile
    • Miles Ahead Software
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2011, 11:07:35 PM »
Quote
I used a scanner on my phone to compare everything to amazon, and would browse there, and order from amazon.  I like the ability to browse a hard copy before buying,

This is where i think the future is going.. There will no longer be different kinds of retail stores. There will be only generic "Browsing Shops" which have very high-tech 3d/tactile setups where you walk into a booth and can examine, feel, and just in general "browse" any product available on the internet.  Maybe some popular items will actually have demos in the store.  But nothing will be "in stock" in the store.  You'll just place your order and have it delivered later, or pay some small "browsing free" and order at home at your convenience.

Kinda' sounds like a Gateway computer store. I went in one once with the ridiculous expectation I could buy a computer there and throw it in the trunk of my car.

Some things I just don't like to get online.  Like shoes. Maybe I have non-standard feet or something, but even testing them out in the store isn't always enough.  Buying untried is just asking for disaster.


iphigenie

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,169
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2011, 02:57:14 PM »
I second the issue about the browsing being necessary -

For a lot of non fiction / reference books (cook books, technical books, travel books, dictionaries, maps, atlases, craft books, art books) there are a lot of similar books - and typically if you looked at all of them and just flipped through, you would clearly decide you like one better than the others. Due to layout, style, feel etc. It it impossible to determine that online. So what happens when there are no bookstores to go to for these? You either have to gamble or just not buy these types of books anymore :S

And I am really really into online commerce - professionally as well - since 1995/6. Buy tons of stuff online. But some things I will so miss. Browsing for books is one of life's pleasures

Maybe I will start a bookshop :)

MilesAhead

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 7,277
    • View Profile
    • Miles Ahead Software
    • Donate to Member
Re: Borders Goes Bankrupt - The Death of Print at Retail?
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2011, 03:10:04 PM »
Quote
Maybe I will start a bookshop

I just hope it isn't a curio shop in an out of the way section of town designed to snare the Winston Smith types.