Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Borders to close all stores

The Borders Group, owners of the second largest bookstore chain, will call it quits - closing its remaining stores and laying off some 11,000 workers.  The action comes after the group was unable to find a buyer willing to keep the company in operation.  Borders had filed for bankruptcy last February, citing competition from Barnes & Noble (the largest bookstore chain in the U.S.), and Amazon - both of which offered online sales of both printed and digital books.
I remember Borders when it was a single store in Ann Arbor, Michigan, thriving from the University of Michigan's trade.  I'll admit I was surprised to hear of it's rapid expansion trying to become a destination media outlet, offering books, magazines, CDs, and videos, along the lines of Virgin's megastores.  But they were both too small (compared to Amazon's offerings) and too big in terms of inventory (compared to other bookstores), and in too many places (for a while there were many more stores than could be supported in smaller markets) to remain competitive, particularly as book sales moved increasingly online.  (Their online store was a late entry into the field - and initial reports didn't specify whether Borders will continue as an online bookstore).
It's sad to see Borders go - but it's a reminder that being late to adapt to changing market conditions can be deadly.

Sources: "Borders Says It Will Shut Down All of Its Stores for Good," CNBC

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