The chain’s demise could speed the decline in sales of hardcover and paperback books as consumers increasingly turn to downloading electronic books or having physical books mailed to their doorsteps.
“When you lose literally miles of bookshelves, it’s going to have an impact,” said David Young, chief executive of Lagardère SCA’s Hachette Book Group, which Borders owed $36.9 million at the time of its bankruptcy filing. “I hope other retailers will now step up and make offers for what they consider to be the prime sites,” Mr. Young said. “It’s a tragedy Borders didn’t make it through.”
The loss of Borders may also make it more difficult for new writers to be discovered. “The liquidation of Borders is an irreplaceable loss of a big part of the book-discovery ecosystem,” said Michael Norris, a senior analyst at Simba Information, a unit of MarketResearch.com “Thousands of people whose job consisted of talking up and selling books will eventually being doing something else, and that’s bad for authors, agents, and everyone associated with the value chain in books.” ~The Wall Street Journal
The failure of Borders is a beautiful thing, coming as it does from the market process. If voluntary competition should one day bring Amazon.com down, in the midst of a competing commercial success today unimaginable but even more friendly to consumers than that wonderful online store, we will again have reason to celebrate.
Viewed another way, Amazon has flourished as much as it has thanks to the unfairness of being able to compete with physical bookstores without the burden of paying taxes to state authorities. It has gained at the expense of other firms by evading taxation that its competitors could not evade, and it has vigorously opposed attempts to subject it to the same rules. One man’s successful business model is another man’s example of gaming the system. Meanwhile, ten thousand Borders employees will have to find other work in a miserable labor market, and the book industry as a whole will suffer significantly from the loss of sales that will follow. If this is a “beautiful thing,” I’d hate to see what a disaster looks like.