Monday, February 28, 2011

Borders and the Long Good-Bye.

By now, you may have heard about the big financial mess that the US-based Borders book store chain is in. They recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and it’s hard not to see the whole situation winding up in a very bad place--sooner rather than later.

The Borders predicament is emblematic of a continuing shift in the way we purchase goods and services in the digital age. The canary in the coal mine were the travel agents, who saw themselves squeezed out of existence once consumers figured out they could just as easily make travel plans on their own.

The next domino was the music business, and with the advent of Amazon and e- books, now the book industry. Even though Borders has a nifty Web site, they unfortunately entered the digital game very late—and as the demand for physical books shrinks, you sure as heck won’t be making a trip to the mall to buy an e-book.

It appears that Borders will go down fighting. As a member of the Borders Rewards program, I received an e-mail from Mike Edwards, the President and CEO of Borders, Inc. It was well-crafted and heartfelt, and included the following passages:

As Borders moves forward, our commitment to you is to be a best-in-class bookseller—whether it’s our stores or—where you can purchase books and related products that stimulate and satisfy your reading interests.

Over the next several months, we will build on our core strengths as a great bookseller with the goal of emerging as the destination of choice for the millions of customers who shop our stores each year.

Sorry, but I’m not buying it. And the fact I’m not buying it leaves me feeling a little sad, as I think Borders was a good chain with some cool stores that I at one time visited frequently. I’m also left wondering which vertical will be impacted next.

This post is by Tom Rapsas and originally appeared on Loyalty Truth. Tom is a writer, creative director and strategist. He can be reached via Twitter @tomrapsas or at

No comments:

Post a Comment