Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Alas, Borders

I have waxed on about Borders and it's previous incarnation Waldenbooks before.
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2011/04/o-is-for-otherworlds-club.html
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2010/09/reflecting-on-d-sometimes-you-cant-go.html

Sad to report that Borders is now facing it's final doom.

I will miss Borders, even if I rarely if even buy gaming material there anymore.

The trouble I think is the same reason why you don't see that many old-school record stores anymore.  The digital media revolution came and Borders did not change fast enough.  Yes there was also that revolving door of CEOs, and I have heard others complain about how the quality of the stores just went down hill.

I feel bad for the employees; this is a hard time to be out of work.  I still feel bad for the company too, they seemed to have been doomed really since the start of the 2000s.  And I also can't help but feel a tinge of guilt.  Sure there was nothing *I* could have done.  But I did choose to buy from Amazon and my FLGS instead, though my involvement one way or the otehr would not have helped Borders.  It will help my FLGS though.

I hate to see this happen all the same.

8 comments:

Padre said...

I hate to see it happen as well, but I don't know that there is anyway to prevent things like this from happening in a society with evolving technology and a drive for convenience. Sad but often inevitable with the rapid changes we witness today.

M.J. Fifield said...

Love the picture in this post. I'm sad about losing Borders. I know all the employees at my local store and I hate to think of them having to try and find a new job.

Plus, I don't know what I'm going to do for impulse book buying now.

The Happy Whisk said...

Over the years, I've spent a great deal of money at Borders. Love the cafe, too. Great place to write. Unfortunate for the workers. Hopefully they find work they enjoy. The girls at our Borders, loved being there.

Jason said...

Blaming technology for this is shortsighted and shows a lack of understanding of the situation. Barnes and Noble posted a notable and steady increase in profits this past year, and the parent company of Starz has said its interest in buying the company comes from the fact that B&N shows that it's poised for a major comeback.

Borders, by comparison, has consistently mismanaged its funds and put grandiosity over business sense. Their stores are giant, beautiful, comfortable...and cost a small fortune to operate. Their collections of music and movies were also woefully overpriced.

They also engaged in epic FAIL by their refusal to embrace emerging technologies with any sort of gusto. While Barnes and Noble created the Nook and NookColor to directly compete with Amazon (and it's working, incidentally), offering tangible benefits for bringing your Nook into their brick-and-mortar stores, Borders all but thumbed their noses at e-readers until it was too late. Then, when they could've partnered with Amazon and the Kindle (since the two businesses had a marginal relationship to begin with), they instead decided to half-assedly partner with...KOBO? Really? KOBO?

Don't worry--nobody else ever heard of the Kobo e-reader, either.

Not only, then, did they decide to offer the two worst e-readers out there (Sony being the other), they offered no tangible Borders-related benefits to owning either.

All this sounds like I hate Borders, and really I don't. It breaks my heart to see them go defunct. Certainly I preferred them to Barnes & Noble, though I own a NookColor. But really, they did it to themselves with a long history of bad business decisions and a failure to be forward-looking in their embrace of new media. It's sad, but far from a surprise.

Ronin78 (Gaming Ronin) said...

What Jason said. I wanted to post something like that. He said it better.

Herb said...

What Jason said, but what doomed my relationship with Borders (having been so happy in November to be moving to a place with one in walking distance after four years of just B&N in town) was the epic fail of their "check if it is in store feature":

1. It was nearly always wrong if it said something was there.
2. You were never contacted either way.

Contrast that to B&N which is the opposite on both.


Epic, epic fail. Sure, they'd order right then with free shipping but if your website told me it was in store and I walked over I don't want it in a week and you'll already promised today and not delivered. Do that twice and have B&N pick up your slack and there won't be a third time.

I didn't desert Borders for Amazon and dropped several $100 just since November there including all my D&D Essentials purchases. But the fail rate on checking if something is in store had already driven me to B&N for specific items even though I had to drive, not walk.

Al said...

I'll miss my local Borders (2 of them) terribly. The ones here were well-run, busy, and ostensibly profitable - it must be extremely frustrating to managers and employees of the stores that survived the first round of cuts and did their best to make their stores stay strong, only to get closed anyway - the hazards of being part of a giant company, I guess.

Unlike Herb's experience - the Borders were always around here great whereas my local Barnes & Nobles are run by idiots. Locally, at least, the B&Ns seem to have been taken over by some sort of coven of old cat ladies who have no knowledge of the books they are selling beyond the psychic friends section or "homey" arts & crafts section. I've had more than one run in with these hostile bats who treat you like a bad odor they wish would just go away and leave them alone, unless you happen to be a 60+ yr-old spinster with cat hair all over your clothes.

Tony Laplume said...

I worked at Borders for five years. I worked there until the bitter end, in fact. And it was easy to see the end coming. Terrible management and no love for books, which was something that began in the 90s, but otherwise and despite the technology gap remained the bookstore B&N only claimed to be. The economy crapped out, and everyone narrowed their view of bookstores to the bigger name, even if their interpretation of quality was wrong. B&N employees even to this day only seem to realize there are customers in the store if they're at the registers or the customer service station, unless they're interested in a Nook. And even B&N has now realized how stupid it is for a bookstore to try and convert its customers into digital readers.

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