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Closing Borders stores

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message 1: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6253 comments I'm at one now. No more wireless or cafe. Big sale. Long lines. I guess Amazon wins.


message 2: by Kate (last edited Feb 19, 2011 11:13AM) (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments Is it fair to lay the blame solely at the feet of Amazon? My understanding was that Borders made a lot of their own mistakes too.

I'm not American, but I will miss the Boston branch near Downtown Crossing which I usually visit every December.


message 3: by Brandon (new)

Brandon | 178 comments I think more blame belongs on Borders than on Amazon if you read up on some of their business practices in the last decade.

For sure Amazon did not help especially when Borders outsourced their website to Amazon for several years. When the Borders site has a big Amazon logo above it and says powered by Amazon I can't imagine that helped them retain their on-line customers.


message 4: by Brad Theado (last edited Feb 19, 2011 12:45PM) (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments Amazon is the Walmart of bookstores. The first to blame when someone can't run a business or remain competitive.


message 5: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6253 comments It's hard to compete with someone that's tax free.


message 6: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4142 comments I don't feel a lot of pity for Borders. There is one near me, with some of the dirtiest (personal hygiene) employees I've ever seen. They mark up most of their books so that they can offer them on "sale" at a price that matches what other places sell them for. Their website is poorly organized and it's hard to tell where to figure out if your local store has a book. And the last three times I've gone to a local store because the website said they had a book I wanted, I got there and was told that I can't rely on the website for that information, since it's almost always wrong (and the books I wanted were not in store). And don't get me started on their crappy coffee cafe with horrible music.

There isn't a B&N particularly close for me, but I'd rather drive the 20 minutes to go there instead of going to Borders.


Nukethewhalesagain | 27 comments I find it weird when someone gets very defensive about corporations. Like Amazon is a poor helpless child that can't defend himself.

No, it's not fair to "blame" Amazon for the demise of Borders. But it is fair to say that Amazon got it started. And Borders closing down isn't a really good thing. It's another blow to the publishing industry. Borders and Waldenbooks (which Borders owns) are in more places than B&N's. And B&N isn't exactly doing great either.


message 8: by Brew (new)

Brew | 44 comments My local branch is staying open, at least for the time being. I will say, however, that it is really not my preferred way to buy or even browse books. The Kindle has kind of taken over my reading life, but I still like to browse actual dead paper every now and again. In that department, I have to say Barnes & Noble is really the better experience right now. I am not sure if that is a product of Border's hard times and their inability to update their retail outlets' look but I find B&N generally cleaner and better stocked.

Don't get me wrong, I do hope Border's is able to rebound. My wife and I have been going there for years and we have many fond memories of the chain.


message 9: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6253 comments Someone I work with says "How could either store make a business out of being a library with a cafe."


message 10: by Brad Theado (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments I use bookstores as places to find books that I wouldnt stumble across reading on my kindle. I make a note if I find one and when I go home I download it to the Kindle. Sucks for them, but I just can't read a paper book anymore. I tried reading our book this month because its not available in Kindle format and I couldnt make it past page 4.


message 11: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6253 comments Brad wrote: "I use bookstores as places to find books that I wouldnt stumble across reading on my kindle. I make a note if I find one and when I go home I download it to the Kindle. Sucks for them, but I just..."

Why, just because of the font size?


message 12: by Craig (new)

Craig Beckett (mrbeckett) | 2 comments I always enjoyed stopping in at the Borders in Watertown NY, and Syracuse when we visited from Canada. I can see how the chain has gone under though. These megabookstores have to be about the value added now. They have to be about the cafe, housewares, gifts, and toy store aspects of their business. If it's just about the books they're screwed. I'm a big audible guy so I guess I can't complain.


message 13: by Space Preacher (new)

Space Preacher (spacepreacher) | 39 comments Borders is just a terrible way to buy books. Ever since going to Powells in Portland, megabookstores have just seemed pathetic.


message 14: by Larry (new)

Larry (lomifeh) | 88 comments I'd not blame Amazon for Borders problems really. They failed to adapt really as things have moved more online. I had not been in one in years because there was no reason. I'd rather go into a small book store or a B&N. Plus they closed Waldenbooks down which always miffed me.


message 15: by Craig (new)

Craig | 53 comments It's interesting. Borders seems to be getting similar love as it goes down as the "Mom and Pop" local stores used to get that it and other big box retailers helped to "drive out of business." Seems that now instead of Borders getting blamed, they are now the victim and it's big bad Amazon the villain (what goes around comes around in business)

Here in Athens, GA we used to have several local shops that were very nice until B&N and Borders came along. While big, they had a formula that customers must have found better matched their needs. Customers liked the bigger selection, the ambiance of coffee shop with bookstore, the consistency when visiting a similar store as they move about locations.

At this time, the primary preferences have changed to conveniently receiving books at home, even bigger selection (long tail even), and more cost savings (no internet taxes, cheaper e-book versions).

Times change. Businesses evolve to meet the needs of users (if they don't then they file for bankruptcy). While I personally have been a patron of my local Borders and will feel a little sad to see it go (if it does). Something will come along to fill the gap as long as customers can choose and vote with their pocketbooks.


message 16: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6253 comments Someone will have to take the place of that essential function, of checking out a book in person, before actually buying it on Amazon.


message 17: by Craig (last edited Feb 20, 2011 10:09AM) (new)

Craig | 53 comments Tamahome wrote: "Someone will have to take the place of that essential function, of checking out a book in person, before actually buying it on Amazon."

Good point about something filling that void. Not sure that it has to be a local store though.

I've been using the Sword and Laser forum on Goodreads for that. Over the last six months or so, the reviews here have led me to most of my book purchases. While I may not always read the monthly selection (since I joined six months ago only one of those was one that I haven't previously read). The S&L forums have led me to Song of Ice and Fire (currently finishing Clash of Kings before starting this months podcast selection); Perdido Street Station, and several others.

For me "checking out a book in person" has been replaced by reading the many great reviews here and selecting what seems interesting to me at the time.


message 18: by Brad Theado (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments I can't go back to reading real books because i have read my last 300 in digital format. The device remembers my place, I can adjust the font size to something more comfortable. (my eye sight is getting worse as I get older). It just seems easier than carrying around a real book.

I am a bibliophile like most of you. when I started reading in digital I was the biggest nay sayer about it. Now though.....it just seems more conducive to the way I read.


message 19: by Brew (new)

Brew | 44 comments Tamahome wrote: "Someone will have to take the place of that essential function, of checking out a book in person, before actually buying it on Amazon."

Sounds like an opportunity for Amazon. Maybe Amazon should buy Border's and turn the brick and mortar stores into showrooms for Amazon stuff. Kind of like Apple retail stores.

Just a thought.


message 20: by Brad Theado (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments with all of the things that Amazon sells that would need to be a pretty big store. Amazon is making money because they do not have the overhead of a brick and mortar store. Taking on a physical presence would just knock them out of business in the long term.


message 21: by Ben (new)

Ben | 116 comments Mom & Pop --> Blockbuster --> Netflix --> Netflix streaming, etc.

Mom & Pop --> B&N, Borders --> Amazon --> Amazon Kindle, etc.

There'll be a few Mom & Pop bookstores forever, of course. If B&N and Borders go under, I expect there will be more than there are now, actually.


message 22: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6253 comments Doesn't Starbucks have a network where you can read e-books while you're there?


message 23: by Brandon (new)

Brandon | 178 comments Honestly my family was very happy when Barnes & Noble and Borders came to town. The WaldenBooks and local mom and pop book stores did not have a big selection of Science fiction and fantasy to choose from.

The big chain stores improved our selection dramatically and now that we have switched to Kindle our selection has improved even further.


Nukethewhalesagain | 27 comments What Amazon needs to do is to cut a deal with Starbucks and get some fully loaded Kindles in each location. A free sample kind of thing that could almost approach what it's like to browse around a bookstore (one of my favorite Sunday afternoon activities in college).


message 25: by Carrington (new)

Carrington Vanston (carringtonvanston) | 6 comments The book selling landscape is changing just as fast as the format of the books themselves:

Big book shops have little coffee shops inside them so people can sit and read. But now that Kindles and iPads are here, all the little coffee shops suddenly have huge book shops inside them. And so do all the restaurants and gyms and bedrooms and elevators. That's an awful lot of competitors, all with lower overhead.

Maybe we'll get lucky and this will mark a return of small, niche book shops filled with passionate bibliophiles and carefully curated shelves. But I suspect it's just one more step toward the end of mass market books made of paper.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Or, we could all just go and support our local libraries!


Nukethewhalesagain | 27 comments Curt wrote: "Or, we could all just go and support our local libraries!"

Pfft, Socialist.


message 28: by Danforth (new)

Danforth Morrigan (nomad_scry) | 35 comments If you buy something from one of the Borders that is closing, they will mark across the barcode at the register. Besides being ugly, I have a vague feeling that they are doing something sketchy. Is there some way they can claim they destroyed the book because they marked it this way?


message 29: by Bill (new)

Bill | 115 comments For what it's worth, in the past year, I've bought 12 books from a B&N or Borders, 5 ebooks from Amazon, 0 printed books from Amazon, and 165 books from Half-Price Books and thrift stores.


message 30: by Brad Theado (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments how strange that you would know that.


message 31: by Jared (new)

Jared (jaredforshey) | 32 comments The internet has allowed people to nestle themselves as deep into their personal niches as they want to go; by contrast, a bookstore (or any curated selection of books) has to try to guess at mass appeal. So much the worse for the megastores, who have to stock thousands of titles only for most of them to languish on shelves.

However, if there were small, independent bookstores that focused on a niche (say, a sci-fi bookstore, a fantasy bookstore, etc.) where you could trust the opinions of the people who work there, I really think you'd have something. It would be like walking into a hobby shop (think trains, RC cars, etc.) where you can just steep in that atmosphere and know for a fact that the guy behind the counter really knows about the stuff he sells.

Still probably wouldn't be profitable, but it'd be fun!


message 32: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments Ash wrote: "If you buy something from one of the Borders that is closing, they will mark across the barcode at the register. Besides being ugly, I have a vague feeling that they are doing something sketchy. Is..."

That's pretty standard for closeout items so you can't return it to a different store. Amazon does it all the time with hard-covers that are clearance priced. If you ever buy a DVD from someplace like Ross or Big Lots, it'll have a hole punched in the UPC for similar reasons.


message 33: by Danforth (new)

Danforth Morrigan (nomad_scry) | 35 comments Sean wrote: "That's pretty standard for closeout items so you can't return it to a different store. Amazon does it all the time..."

Right, I had noticed that in the past with used CDs. Thank you!


message 34: by Tamahome (last edited Feb 24, 2011 11:35AM) (new)

Tamahome | 6253 comments They talk about Borders in the first 20 minutes.

AISFP 116 – Sherrilyn Kenyon
http://www.adventuresinscifipublishin...


message 35: by Curt (new)

Curt Taylor (meegeek) | 107 comments My daughter works in marketing at a big publisher in NYC. Since the Borders news hit, things have been a bit dicey around her office. Looks like Borders owes a significant amount of money to this one publisher. She and I have had a number of debates on Amazon vs. B&N / Borders. The publishers are trying not to fall into the same mess that the record labels got into, but resisting change never seemed like a good way to go, imho. The publishers are all feeling a bit threatened here, nonetheless.


message 36: by Micah (new)

Micah (onemorebaker) | 1071 comments I dropped by the local store that is shutting its doors this saturday. They had everything listed at %20 off. Which is still not a good deal in my opinion because their prices were so high in the first place. But people were clearing the shelves pretty fast. I guess they didn't check amazon before they bought into that liquidation hooey


message 37: by Brad Theado (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments I would love to find a books store that could make recommendations. Lets say i love zombie stories. The book store should have someone who is steeped in zombie fiction and can direct you to a host of stories along those lines.

Typically when I walk into a Borders/BN/Booksamillion, I get blank stares when I ask about a genre (pick one, any one). I get a "let me ask my manager" who then goes and does a search online (I often wonder if they use amazon).

Just one of many reasons why I dont shop at them any more. I know that people making minimum wage cant be expected to be avid readers, perhaps if they paid more and got book professionals, they would still be in business.


message 38: by Dan (new)

Dan (daniel-san) | 101 comments Fortunately, the Borders store near me is staying open amidst all this. It's honestly a fun place to hang out, and it's within walking distance for me. It is probably the nicest friendliest store in town, and they routinely have live music and community book club meetings even though it's one of the smallest stores they have. They go out of their way to stock the relevant local and regional books that other stores don't carry, including Amazon. They do good business here. It would be a crying shame if my Borders store closed someday, but obviously not the end of the world. (That's coming when you bank through Amazon.com and go to the airport and fly the friendly Amazon.com skies!)

My town has used bookstores, which I frequent, but anything new would have to be bought at Walmart or Target, and I doubt anyone in town other than Borders has Shadow & Claw for sale. Borders is a chain, but there are local folks who work there and love what they are doing. I enjoy Amazon like everyone else, but I'm at a point in my life where I'd rather support local commerce than buy everything through a company I really know nothing about.

Maybe we'll see a more-focused Borders as a result of the chapter 11 filing. I'd like to see more competition in the eBook arena, and I like what Borders is doing with their open eBook policy so far. I don't like being locked in to one store, and I like that I can read their books on any device I want. The buying experience isn't bad or difficult, but I could see ways to improve it. Maybe after all this they will compete a little more.


message 39: by Paul (new)

Paul Kelly (ptekelly) | 206 comments Tamahome wrote: "It's hard to compete with someone that's tax free."

Not sure thats true - everything I buy from them is taxed.


message 40: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2479 comments Micah wrote: "I dropped by the local store that is shutting its doors this saturday. They had everything listed at %20 off. Which is still not a good deal in my opinion because their prices were so high in the..."

Yeah the straight 20% off is not a good deal at all but there seem to be a lot of mugs who think it is. If your a member of their rewards program you usually get a 25%-40% coupon in your e-mail every week (not usable at closing stores) so it's cheaper to go to one of the non-closing stores and use that.

You can do even better if you can stack coupons and various rewards. For example; at the moment some credit cards are giving 5% cash back on all purchases at grocery stores. So I buy gift cards for Barnes and Noble and Amazon, that's 5% off right off the top before I use any coupons and special deals. Overall I probably get 40-50% off most books.
Be careful with Amazon, they are not always the best deal and sometimes it's easy to get fooled. i.e. digital downloads are sometimes more expensive than buying the physical item on the same page!


message 41: by Patrick (new)

Patrick (halfadd3r) I wish I could be more sympathetic, but I'm not. Borders forced some really great small books stores in my area to close. And those were stores with knowledgeable and dedicated staff. There are some really great people working at Borders, but I've also more than once helped fellow customers find stuff when the EMPLOYEES couldn't.


message 42: by Ben (new)

Ben | 116 comments Paul wrote: "Tamahome wrote: "It's hard to compete with someone that's tax free."

Not sure thats true - everything I buy from them is taxed."


It depends on what state you are in. Most don't charge tax because Amazon doesn't have a physical presence in them. Washington (HQ) and New York (so many partner companies) both charge sales tax.


message 43: by Paul (new)

Paul Kelly (ptekelly) | 206 comments I see - sorry - Uk books are generally tax free (I forgot) but the same applied to all book sellers - online or redbrick


message 44: by aldenoneil (last edited Mar 03, 2011 10:34AM) (new)

aldenoneil | 1000 comments Patrick wrote: "I wish I could be more sympathetic, but I'm not. Borders forced some really great small books stores in my area to close. And those were stores with knowledgeable and dedicated staff. There are ..."

I was just thinking the same thing. I hate to see people lose their jobs, of course, but I get all schadenfreude-y about any chain going down. I know I use them, and they're convenient, but I hate the way they've homogenized so many cities. Being born in 1980, though, it's not like I've ever known things to be any different. I'm reminiscing about the good old days that never existed.


message 45: by Dan (last edited Mar 03, 2011 04:29PM) (new)

Dan (daniel-san) | 101 comments Patrick wrote: "I wish I could be more sympathetic, but I'm not. Borders forced some really great small books stores in my area to close. And those were stores with knowledgeable and dedicated staff. There are ..."

The sad part about all of this is that this will likely not pave the way for other bookstores, Ma-and-Pa or what have you, to come in and do business where Borders failed. Small bookstores still have to compete with Amazon's prices, which is nearly impossible due to the volume of business Amazon does. Barnes and Noble may capitalize on the Borders closures in those areas for a short time, but I sadly think B&N's days are numbered as well, at least in the brick-and-mortar sense if Amazon continues to grow unchecked.


message 46: by Phil On The Hill (new)

Phil On The Hill (philonthehillexon) | 238 comments All gone from the UK for about a year now. They even bought a UK chain Books Etc and pulled them down too. Waterstones is the last UK chain, but I think they are on borrowed time too.


message 47: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6253 comments I just went to a Blockbusters, and they were having a closing sale too!


message 48: by Phil On The Hill (new)

Phil On The Hill (philonthehillexon) | 238 comments The internet is the future. Love and Loathe it.


message 49: by Derek (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments So now that the big box stores are feeling the crunch and starting to fail is it time for "You've Got Mail: 2"?

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan's relationship didn't last and they lost touch with each other. Years have passed, and as Hank's big store begins to feel the pressure of the e-age, he falls into despondency. Turning to the internet, he reconnects with Meg through Facebook and Twitter. As their relationship heats up again 140 characters at a time, they decide to re-open her corner bookstore and live happily ever after. ;-)


message 50: by Brandon (new)

Brandon Dunn | 40 comments We should enjoy the brick and mortar stores while we can. Blockbuster is going away, and most people say its because netflix, and they certainly havent helped, but i blame itunes, zune marketplace, and whatever it is on ps3.

Even with netflix BB survived on people like me, who didnt want to wait for new stuff in the mail.

Borders is the same way, yea i ordered some books on amazon, but sometimes i just didnt feel like waiting or paying S&H. Now i just click a few buttons and i got my book on my nook (yea it rhymes, wanna fight about it).


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