Borders Finished; 11,000 Employees Screwed


Our favorite brick and mortar book store chain, the troubled Borders Group is shutting down after failing to find any bidders.

Over the years, we’ve lost track of the number of books we’ve purchased at Borders stores in NY, NJ, PA, CA, DE and MD.

Not just for books, we headed to Borders for magazines, music CDs and Coffee as well.

We confess that at one point in the 20th century when our home was close to a Borders store we even read a few books completely free by sitting in the air-conditioned comfort of the store.

Hey, two of our favorite music collections (Ennio Morricone’s three-CD 50-Movie Theme Hits and Inglourious Basterds) came from Borders.

As we type this post, we’re listening to the haunting music in Morricone’s Il Trio Infernale.

Borders Store at Madison Square Garden, NYCBorders Store at Madison Square Garden, NYC
(iPhone Photo by

Why Did Borders Fail

Borders failed for many reasons.

* Shifting Loyalties – As the Internet became more pervasive and online booksellers like Amazon offered books much cheaper than Borders, we and countless others shifted our loyalties to save a few bucks. While we all are to blame, we’re not completely culpable because books increasingly became very expensive. As we cut down our purchases at Borders, we started buying at Amazon. It was only when we found a 40%-off coupon in our e-mail, that we’d head to Borders.

* Reading Habit has Declined – In a Facebook-Twitter-iPad age, reading is an indulgence that fewer and fewer people give in to. After all, reading requires a greater commitment than typing up 64-character Tweets, hitting the ‘Like’ button on your Facebook friend’s baby’s photo or posting a comment on this blog post.

* Growth of eBook Readers – As eBook readers like Kindle, iPad, Kobo and Nook proliferated, the situation for brick and mortar booksellers like Borders grew dire. Why go to a bookstore when you can download the latest book in less than a minute, often at a lower price than a hardcover.

* Free eBooks – With the growth of eBooks readers, all the classics that are not bound by copyright restrictions became available for free download dealing another blow to brick and mortar booksellers like Borders.

* Management Errors – Borders’ management compounded the problem by not responding to the threat posed by the Internet. They initially outsourced the management of Borders’ online store to the enemy, which in this case happened to be How stupid can you get!

* Recession – As if all of the above were not bad enough, America’s continuing great recession was another sharp nail in Borders’ coffin. When money is tight, people flock to libraries, not to bookstores. Go to any public library in America today and you can see the long lines for computers and the months-long waiting list for new books.

Bottom line, Borders will soon be history.

The 399-stores will be liquidated and its 10,700 employees thrown on the street in the worst recession to hit America since the Great Depression.

And consumers and the communities where the Borders’ stores are located will be the poorer for it.

The liquidation process at Borders stores starts this Friday, July 22.

By the end of September, the liquidation is expected to be completed.

Here’s what Borders Group President Mike Edwards had to say today:

We were all working hard towards a different outcome, but the headwinds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution, and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now.

Borders, we shall miss you! 🙁

The bells now toll for Barnes & Noble.

2 Responses to "Borders Finished; 11,000 Employees Screwed"

  1. rama dasa   July 19, 2011 at 10:02 am

    i remember as a teenager going to the Borders at the local mall and sitting in one of the aisles reading for hours while my mom got her hair done.

    I think about every five minutes some person would just HAVE to walk by me and make me move out of the way instead of walking around the aisle to get where they were going.

    I never tried their coffee though….well i guess it’s of to Barnes&Noble instead…. Responds:

    If our memory serves us right, they serve Seattle’s Best coffee. Nice and strong.

    Many times, we’ve popped into Borders just for the coffee! The Newark store in DE is just off the I-95 exit (from/to NYC/NJ).

  2. kreacher   July 19, 2011 at 10:54 am

    This is quite sad.

    Though I have been more of a Barnes and Noble / Amazon person myself, Borders used to be one of my favorite spots to hang out with my kid when we had nothing else to do. One of our standard routines would be to get him a “Strawberries and Creme” from Starbucks, then hop into Borders, take him to the kids’ section there and leave him alone with all the toys and dinosaur books. He had grown quite fond of this entire sequence.

    Of course, after moving to Canada we have continued to do this with “Indigo”, but it isn’t the same. Responds:

    While every generation laments that things were always so much better in the past, yours truly can’t help but agree with that sentiment right now.

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