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Old 02-14-2011, 02:08 PM   #1
Paul Levine
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"Borders' Woes Help E-Books"

That’s the headline in today’s Wall Street Journal about the impending Chapter 11 filing by the bookstore chain. The move is expected to close more than one-third of the Borders’ 674 remaining stores.

“Once physical shelf space is gone, it’s gone forever,” Mark Coker, of Smashwords, is quoted as saying.

On Saturday, in the Journal, Mike Shatzkin, a respected publishing consultant, opined that 90% of bookstore shelf space would be gone in a few years.

Ninety per cent! A breathtaking, heartbreaking number.

Is there a glimmer of good news in this? The Journal speculates that e-book sales will grow even faster. So, there’s a bright side for the manufacturers of e-book devices, for the promotional and marketing companies springing up to goose e-bok sales, for Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, and companies like Smashwords. For writers of e-books and writers of dead tree books who are putting up their backlists on Amazon et al (as I’m doing), it’s good news too.

But so bittersweet. I feel for the employees who will be tossed out of work, for mainstream publishers who will distribute fewer books – and possibly lay off more workers – and for readers who will miss the experience of bookstores in their neighborhoods.

Your thoughts?

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Old 02-14-2011, 02:19 PM   #2
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If the majority of bookstores vanish, I'll miss browsing in a bookstore. But as I don't buy paperbooks to support them, I really can't complain too much.

Where I currently live there's a Borders, B&N, Joseph Beth, and a handful of used bookstores. Borders is always my last choice because the selection and atmosphere are so terrible.

EDIT: Correction, apparently the Joseph Beth near me closed within the past 4 months. I really loved their atmosphere, but again, I don't buy paperbooks. I'm still sad though.

Last edited by queentess; 02-14-2011 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 02-14-2011, 03:39 PM   #3
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sign o' times...

can't say we didn't see it coming...
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:17 PM   #4
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Does this mean that the internet site will stay in business?
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:52 PM   #5
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Do you remember music record album stores? They are pretty much gone now.
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:28 PM   #6
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I'd be careful about over-generalizing from Borders to the greater industry but...
If bookstores vanish, well...
(Shrug)

How about tobacco shops?
Newstands?
There used to be one in every neighborhood.
How about speakeasies and town stables?
Times change. Those that don't factor this into their business plans end up as roadkill.

Think about it: Borders has twenty year leases on some of those monster storefronts of theirs! Never mind technology changes, what about demographic changes? They expected their business to remain unchanged for a full generation? Riighhtt...

They're supposed to be closing a third of their stores: anybody want to bet how many of those are in the midwest and northeast and how many in the south and west?

It's easy to blame ebooks or online pbook sales but the plain truth is Borders' management for the past decade-plus has proven they couldn't find their own rears without GPS guidance.

Last edited by fjtorres; 02-14-2011 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:02 PM   #7
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Actually the music record album stores have made a considerable comeback, it's the CD album stores in trouble.


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Do you remember music record album stores? They are pretty much gone now.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:04 PM   #8
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I sympathize for the employees who will be out of work.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:41 AM   #9
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I am sorry for those whose jobs disappear. As one of those people (a few years ago), I can promise that life goes on, but it can be hell to go through those changes.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by queentess View Post
If the majority of bookstores vanish, I'll miss browsing in a bookstore. But as I don't buy paperbooks to support them, I really can't complain too much.


My thoughts exactly.
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:48 AM   #11
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My thoughts exactly.
same.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:53 AM   #12
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They went in the UK of course. Pure book chains are finding it hard. The supermarkets have taken a large share of the paperback market, with their discounting of all chart books, especially ASDA (Walmart owned), and Tesco. Then Amazon takes the rest, or so it seems.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:02 PM   #13
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Employers are one step closer to needing nothing but robots and computers (sometimes in robots!).
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:12 PM   #14
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Employers are one step closer to needing nothing but robots and computers (sometimes in robots!).
One of Amazon's strengths as an online retailer (besides their secret life as an Internet *technology* company) is their heavily automated warehouses where order filling is to a large extent carried out by robots. They should be getting even more efficient shortly as they bought out Diapers.com because they had developed robot software that was significantly better than what Amazon had available.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39633906..._businessweek/

Most companies these days are using automation to leverage humans brainpower into higher productivity so they use humans where their judgment is valuable and moving to robots where dumb (robotic) "muscle" power suffices.

Welcome to the 21st century!

No flying cars (yet) but the rest of the wonders are coming along nicely.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:34 PM   #15
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I have found that record stores have become a part of book shops rather than being stand alone stores. Tobaco shops are still around and quite prelevant where I am and speakeasys are still quite common its that you are not calling them the right thing, call them night clubs and they are still around in most larger towns.
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