From the NewYorker” Borders stores will begin closing as early as Friday. Spend your gift cards this week. (Please buy books, rather than calendars, lattes, or Moleskine notebooks.) Liquidation will continue through the summer and is likely to be complete by September. By then, nearly eleven thousand people will have lost their jobs”.
I was sadden by the news that Borders Books is shutting down .
Growing up, reading has always been part of my DNA as my parents always had two newspapers in the house: The Akron Beacon Journal and Cleveland Plain Dealer.
So from a very early age, I was exposed to various forms of media and I loved it!
As I kid, whenever I traveled to the store with my parents or my grandparents , I immediately went to comic section to check out the exploits Spiderman, Superman and X-Men (shout out to my Comic-Con buddies).
As a teen, outside of playing Galaga in the arcade, Walden Books was my favorite place to go, this where I felt most comfortable in warmth of Cracked, Sports Illustrated, Black Beat Magazine and later books on African-American studies.
By the time Borders came into my life as an adult, my love of comics faded some (Dark Knight Rises comes out in 2012) , but my love for books grew even more as now I can spend hours in a place where I can browse and buy books ranging from biographies to social media to how to pick up women, (guess which book didn’t me help much).
Borders Books was not only an oasis for people like myself who loved to read , but also place I mingled freely with people who also liked to read; I like to call this, Speed dating with bookmarks!
However, Borders Books had one major problem: Too much expansion!
Much like th sportswear store Steve & Barry, Borders opened too many stores .
When Steve & Barry has their first taste of national success, it was based mostly on former NBA star Stephon Marbury’s low-cost shoes and pants for $10, (While some questioned the durability of the apparel, I still wear shoes and pants from the Starbury line back then).
The success of the Starbury line led to a boom of more stores and more clothing partnerships with other celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Venus Williams and Amanda Bynes.
Unfortunately, the economics of Steve & Barry’s low-cost approach mixed with paying stars and opening too many stores led to their downfall.
Steve & Barry’s had more money going out than coming in.
Border’s main problem was repetition.
In my area of Akron, Ohio I could drive to three different Border’s within an hour, (four within 90 minutes).
For reading junkie like myself, this was heaven, but for an economic perspective, this was too many books sitting on shelves and not enough people buying them
The sad fact is that most people don’t read books anymore.
Think about the many FREE books sitting on library shelves in your community. Although Borders is a great place, it’s still a business and even your most dedicated buyer doesn’t buy every book they pick up, (including myself).
In contrast, there is only one Barnes and Noble in my area and although I wish it was closer to me, financially by having one store B&N is still doing well.
Some people might say that Amazon’s dominance online and the emergence of E-books also hurt Border’s bottom line.
Sure, more people are using the iPad, Nooks and tablets, but Borders did have a partnership with Kobo who powered Borders’ e-bookstore, ( Kobo said recently “We’re NOT Borders And We’re Doing Just Fine, Thanks“).
No, I still think Borders Books over-expanded and then didn’t do enough to correct this issue, (personally, I wonder if CEO ever went to stores around the country to talk to the employees and see if they could turn things around)
Now will now buy a nook? I doubt it.
No offense for people who use them, but holding a piece a plastic, reading a book or magazine seems cold to me.
Do I embrace the technology, Yes.
Will I use the technology for future media endeavors? Yes.
But there is nothing like print.
There’s nothing like putting a book down for a few months and finding it a few months later and continue reading it.
There is nothing like sitting in a bookstore and getting into a discussion with another person about a book they are reading.
I can’t get that from downloading an app.
I can’t get that by waiting for my e-reader to boot up.
But I can get that from a bookstore.
I guess from this point on, I have to take my talents to Barnes and Noble.