Monday, July 18, 2011

Goodbye, Borders

A few months ago, I had written that it was a bit too early to write the obituary for the bookstore chain Borders. I had hoped the company would continue, but I was wrong. The chain will liquidate its remaining stores. I wrote back in February that in many ways, Borders caused its own demise for not keeping up with the times:
I would agree that the advent of Amazon and e-readers like the Kindle have made bricks and mortar stores obsolete, but I also think the damage done to Borders was just as much the fault of Borders than it was technology. The bookstore chain was slow to getting online and even today, it’s web presence is not that great. Recently, I was looking to purchase a book and wanted to see if I could buy it at the Borders website. The price for that book was twice as much as it was on Amazon. Borders wasn’t even close to being competative with the Amazon. If the chain wants to survive, it’s going to have to make the website on par with Amazon and be ready to play hardball.

Barnes and Noble saw the handwriting on the wall and has been able to keep up with Amazon, not only on the web, but also in the e-reader market with its own machine- the Nook.
Borders in many ways was stuck in its heyday of the mid-to-late 1990s, long before Amazon and anything like a Kindle or the Nook. It never really took the changes in the book market, from brick and mortar to the web, seriously and it has paid for that ignorance dearly.

I don't know what it is with Michigan-based businesses that they get stuck in their halcyon days and don't stay competative. General Motors and Chrysler were saved only because the government came in to get the into shape.

Borders will be a lesson on what not to do when it comes to business and technology.

That said, I will miss the chain. I always liked it more than Barnes and Noble.

Goodbye, Borders.


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