Monday, January 17, 2011

More Borders Woes Update (And It's Not a Happy One)

By now, most people have heard that the bookseller giant Borders is in some financial trouble.

And we've been hearing something similar for the past three or four years. Still, there are plenty of Borders stores all over the country, and the chance of one being within half an hour of wherever you're reading this from is pretty high.

For the most part, while it's less likely these days that Borders will carry a title that strays off the mainstream road, their stores have managed to remain fairly well-stocked these past few years, despite all of their troubles.

And, for various reasons, they were particularly well-stocked in the comic book/graphic novel department.

Well, all that's about to change, as Diamond Book Distributors--the major distribution game in the comics industry--has suspended shipments to Borders stores in light of the bookseller's decision to suspend payments to their vendors.

Can't really blame Diamond, can you?

Several publishers have also stopped selling their product to Borders, and news broke that the retail giant will close a Tennessee-based warehouse this summer, eliminating 310 jobs in the process.

Obviously, this is sad, bad news. It's bad for the folks at Borders, it's bad for the publishers, and it's bad for anyone who enjoys going to a bookstore and wandering.

Let's face it--when Borders moved in just over a decade ago, they (along with Barnes & Noble) essentially became the only game in town. The retail behemoths pushed small shops out of business as customers found the whole, coffee-shop-in-a-bookstore thing to be revelatory.

But now, when Borders needs to do the thing--you know, sell books--that those small shops did so well for all those years...they can't. And why is that? Because, by and large, Borders has always been more interested in having a nice coffee shop, or selling CDs and DVDs, or stocking a wide selection of paper products that no one buys.

Books were always secondary. They were the front.

And now, Borders needs to figure out--in the worst book selling climate in history--how to sell books. And from the looks of things, it seems like they'll need a miracle to get out of their current situation.

But Borders has been resilient, if nothing else. And they've managed to survive, despite the countless tolls of the their death-knell. Here's hoping they can keep surviving. Here's hoping they go to all of those book shop owners who were forced out of business a decade ago and ask them for advice.

Because, after all these years, it's about time Borders figures out just how in the heck to sell books.

1 comment:

zharth said...

I used to love Border's. It's a really great place to just go and browse for hours. And speaking of hours, the one near my house used to have the best hours, too - they would be open till 11 while the mall (which used to have a Waldenbooks) shut its doors at 9 and Best Buy closed down at 10. I know I'm out of the ordinary, but I'm a late shopper, so any store that stays open later than its competitors deserves respect in my mind.

But then they started closing earlier and earlier, and it's just been a string of disappointments for me with them. There's a new Barnes and Noble now right on the corner, and it's pretty much taking Border's spot for me. It's not as big or as cozy, but it's already got better hours. I hate to say it, but I don't see much hope for this Border's in the near future.