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Look Upon My Books and Despair…

July 18, 2011

It looks like it’s endgame for Borders… the company is begging for liquidation as a solution to its financial woes.

Borders’ attempt to stay in business unraveled quickly last week, after a $215 million “white knight” bid by private-equity firm Najafi Cos. dissolved under objections from creditors and lenders. They argued the chain would be worth more if it liquidated immediately.

Borders liquidation could have far-reaching effects, putting thousands of people out of work at a time of high unemployment, particularly in Michigan where Borders is based. The chain, which has been shrinking in recent years, currently has 10,700 employees.

I do mourn for a day when I could go to a book store and actually buy a book.  Yea, I know I’m behind the times, becuase most people have e-books and get instant gratificaiton in a myriad of ways in terms of reading.  At this point, dinosaurs like me are relegated to the library and/or we have to hope that B&N still has a nearby store.

Borders was slow to adapt to the changing industry and lost book, music and video sales to the Internet and other competition. Sales began to fall, leading to a revolving door of CEOs. By the time Borders’ current CEO, financier Bennett LeBow, came aboard in May 2010 after investing $25 million in the company, bankruptcy was already looking like a strong possibility.

I suppose the strategic lesson in this one is that life happens fast, and big companies with big spending are best served by trying new things.  Barnes and Noble at least went on the Internet pretty quickly after Amazon started its run, which so far has kept it afloat.  It’s not that you need to outdo everyone in the market, it’s that you need to utilize your strengths in a changing market.  Borders’ strength was its ordering pipeline and its inventory management.  And that couldn’t have played well in a distribution system?

The loss here is for the community.  Borders filled a lot of space in malls, and it now joins a variety of retial stores that couldn’t manage to afford the massive amount of space.  At this point, what’s going to fill the mall space where the bookstore, or the bath store, or the video store, or… was formerly sitting?

In the mean time, I suppose I’ll go find a library so I can get a book.  I don’t feel like hopping onto the e-book train quite yet.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    July 18, 2011 10:15 pm

    Dude! Powells!!!! (Lynn, who doesn’t feel like logging in just to post a comment…)

  2. July 18, 2011 5:42 pm

    I like reference materials in e-form, for searchability as well as speed of access.

    But I own only four ebooks, three of which I wrote. And more than a hundred boxes of books with, unfortunately, no current place for them.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    • July 18, 2011 5:58 pm

      I’ll admit to recently simplifying and turning in about half my books so other people could enjoy them. I needed the space for newer hobbies. I’m less attached to things as I age. I can’t tell if that’s a real change, or if I’m just too much of a wuss to keep hauling all the boxes around.

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