Borders Bookstores Is Closing – Bittersweet News For Indy Booksellers?

Jul 19

After not being able to find a last-minute savior, the Borders Group will begin closing its remaining 399 stores as soon as Friday, and the liquidation is expected to run through September. To be honest, this might not be the worst news for communities, as a 2002 study showed that for every $100 spent at a local Borders, only $13 stayed in the community (vs. $45/$100 with local booksellers).

However, while this might seem like great news for small independent books sellers, it’s obviously a horrible turn of events for Border’s 10,700 employees who will now join the jobless numbers in the U.S.. The saying is true – the bigger they are, the harder they fall. (In an unrelated note, Cisco just announced they’ll be cutting 6,500 positions as well…)

Also bittersweet: While local brick and mortar stores may have an opportunity to re-gain “paper” customers, they have another tough hurdle to deal with – eBooks. With Amazon reporting that eBook editions are grossly outselling their paper counterparts for over a year now and publishers pulling back investments on new gambles, local booksellers shouldn’t waste any time celebrating the Borders news.

What niche will local bookstores find to avoid going the way of the travel agent in this growing digital landscape? Will they be able to adapt quickly enough to survive in a new form? We sure hope so…

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