Seven Observations from the Decline of Borders Bookstore

. . . . . . continued from the first post.

So, what does it mean for us if Borders is no more or simply a smaller company and no longer a major player.  Well, I have outline ten observations about this decline.

1.  Author Signings

How does host author signings.  Book stores existed for more than just a place to buy books.  Authors had an opportunity to meet fans and sign their books.  New authors have a chance to promote their books.  Presidents go on tour to promote a book.   Book signings will still happen, and even, they happen now in other locations such as Costco, Wal-Mart and Sam’s.  Now, however, we may a shift to various other locations for author signings.  The days of hitting the Borders circuit for authors may be numbered.  One of my favorite parts of working at Borders was meeting authors.  In fact, I helped two former Cowboys players get book signings at our store.  It was fun to experience, and most of the time, the authors were very gracious.

Flickr: exlibris

2. Browsing/Perusing

If Borders no longer exists, there may be less browsing and perusing bookstores.  That is a fun experience.  It may be different, people may get their browsing fix at independent and/or used book stores which would reflect a fundamental shift in hands-on shopping back to where it began before the big book chains became popular.  The hard core reader who likes to browse may have to rely on a different venue in the future.

3.  Readers

Are there serious readers any more?  That may depend on who you ask.  For instance, will tell you there is because they do well.  There is not a successful business owner that I know that does not read.  It is part of learning and becoming a better person and business owner.  Further, the question may be if there are any serious fiction readers any more.  It seems more and more that we have less time with how busy we are and people are turning to movies and TV to get in their fiction ( I know I do ).  I think there are still serious readers, we are just seeing a shift in who they are and how they are buying.

4.  Trends and Habits

I am not an expert in this area, but we are seeing what I think is the ultimate in a sift of trends and buying habits, especially for readers.  Now, we have new distribution channels and new ways for fans to recommend books.  Digital is primary now.  Readers are downloading e-books to be read on their iPhones, iPads, and e-book readers as well as their computer.  I have and do download e-books from various business blogs.  In fact, the first e-book I remember buying eventually became a printed book.  Further, it was first published in paperback, completely skipping the hardback standard of the publishing industry.  Fans can use social media to recommend books to friends.  In fact, blogs are already doing serious book reviews and some are doing it via video through YouTube.

Queen Rania, "The Sandwich Swap"
Flickr: 3ammo

5.  Publishing influenced by buyers

This leads me to something we may be seeing more of.   Buyers are and will be influencing publishers.  The religious book, The Shack, is a good example of this.  The shoe-string budget publishers promoted via word of mouth, blogs and radio shows.  We may see more examples like this where publishers decide to publish books because of its success in other venues and even in e-books.

6.  New Platforms that turn paper in to digital

There are various new platforms available.  As mentioned above, there are several different types of digital platforms which allow books to be distributed.  Further, these digital platforms are eco-friendly and economical.  It is better for the environment, overall, to not use as many trees further reducing cost associated with printing on paper.

7. Jobs will be gone

If there is a significant closing of Borders Bookstores, that means, of course, that several people will suddenly be without a job.  Some of them may be friends of mine.  They will be forced to make decisions and maybe re-orientate themselves to a new career.

The recent Bankruptcy means that Borders Bookstore will never be the same as it was, especially in the 1990’s when it was at its peak.  The changes in how books are being delivered will ensure it never will be like it was.  The days of the Borders experience will be nostalgic for many shoppers.  We can only hope that it does not mean that people will read less.  However, there was certainly something about “killing time” in a bookstore, losing yourself in a newly discovered book, which may be lost forever.