Bye Bye Borders?

And then, there was one.

Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday. While filing Chapter 11 does allow them to keep in operation and try to overhaul its business in order to survive, they are closing 30% of their stores. Is one near you closing? The one in my town is. Here’s the list so you can check. 

As a writer, one of the questions that we all are asking is, how will this event impact us? After all, Borders is one of the two Big Boys on the Block in terms of national bookstore chains. For me, my local Borders was very supportive of me. They not only hosted my first book signing on my recent book tour for my latest thriller, The Brink, they also hosted my ribbon cutting ceremony when I joined the local chamber of commerce. As I have no storefront, it would have been be pretty weird having all those people in my little home office. Plus, I probably would have broken something with the giant scissors.

But what about bookstores in general. One MSNBC writer suggests that Borders loss could be the independent bookstore world’s gain. Many people will be blaming the advent of eReaders and digital books that caused the Borders bankruptcy. Personally, I think growing digital book sales and fierce competition from other big sellers (Barnes & Noble, Amazon) had a lot to do with it. One other big part is overhead. The Borders in my town is 23,000 square feet. Most of their other stores are similar in size. That’s a lot of space to pay rent on, to heat, to cool, and to keep lit.

So, while bankruptcy is a bad word, it could be the best thing that ever happened to Borders. The company could emerge as a leaner, more adaptable organization. Because the publishing world is at such a crossroads, Borders could invent a new business model that succeeds, and everyone else will follow. Let’s hope the phoenix can rise from the ashes, because no one ever gained anything from having fewer books around.

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Send him an email at mark@markfadden.com.  

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One Response

  1. Our Borders store closed before Christmas. My favorite book store is called the Book Exchange. They are local, small but perfect. They carry a nice variety of new and used books. I’ve noticed even the big chains are limited in what they carry. They only want the books they think are marketable. Like you said big spaces cost money to run. The book world is definitely changing.

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