Borders: Killed by People Who Loved It (and Amazon)

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    About 10,700 employees will be thrown out of work when Borders closes its doors.

    Borders will shutter its remaining 399 stores, saying competition from Amazon.com and the current recession led to the liquidation of its assets. The 40-year-old company filed for bankruptcy in February but scrapped the decision for a bankruptcy court auction and opted instead to close.

    I loved Borders. I met my husband at Borders (and it's likely its many failed and successful hookups spawned an entire generation). It was a necessary haven for me in a small town where only 3 percent of the county had a college degree. I loved picking up a couple of books or CDs, lightly swaying to the beat of world music and finding guys who could do something other than simultaneously drink beer and impregnate teenagers.
     
    But then I realized that was a decade ago. The last time I went into Borders I was annoyed it didn't have the book I wanted. The clerk offered to order it for me, but I told him, "I could just order it from Amazon.com myself!" And I did. Since 2006, I have spent literally thousands of dollars on books, music and DVDs from Amazon. I loved Borders, but I -- and many others like me -- easily killed it for the convenience of online shopping.

    About 10,700 employees will be laid off, while Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble are likely to pursue former Borders customers, the Wall Street Journal reported. Borders' official e-book reader, the Kobo, will continue to operate independently, according to Forbes. Amazon is the largest retailer of physical and electronic books.

    Publishers are also devastated, with fear that bookstores would disappear like record stores, with no chance of consumers browsing through books or making an impulse buy, according to the New York Times. Now with Borders gone, they plan on smaller print runs and shipments.

    There might be a small silver lining for independent bookstores, the few that weren't crushed by Borders and similar chains in the last 20 years. But as Borders stores have closed, sales have risen at a nearby local bookstores. Independent bookseller Andy Laties tells the Boston Globe, "As an indie, I’m standing there with you. Will customers pay more to shop at local stores? Yes, if we demonstrably add value."