Thursday, April 23, 2009

Borders in Big Financial Trouble?

Borderline Play?  NYT reports on Borders' financial woes and possible merger with Barnes and Noble.  Wow.  Shocking news to this author/reader.  I'm used to the demise/struggle of the independent bookstores, but . . . wow.  What does it say when a giant like Borders is in danger of extinction?  

Maybe nothing more than Amazon is the new giant in the kingdom?  I have to admit that there's nothing like saving money and Amazon seems the cheapest way to buy my books, but I'm also a big fan of instant gratification--and impulse.  I can be an impulse book buyer.  

I've even been known to be called, impatient.  I know, say it isn't true, but, yes, a couple of Scribes informed me that the publishing industry doesn't understand "Theresa time".  But I digress.  Borders seems such an institution.  But then, if they merge with Barnes and Noble will anybody even notice a difference?

Maybe all my gasping is for naught.  What say you?


Donnell said...

T, this is discouraging. However, I'm of the philosophy proper management has a lot to do with survival. Here's hoping some entrepreneur will bring something innovative to the table. It's amazing the ingenuity that sparks up in times of difficulty. This is why I buy from the mom and pop stores. Don't know if my meager dollars help, but it's something, and I love Theresa Time. We should trademark that!

KL Grady said...

I still think it would be uber hawt if the independent bookstores rose up. Considering the online bookstores fill the need-it-now-can't-go-to-the-store niche, brick-and-mortar need to change their business model to keep up ... kind of like other business models that need to be updated (I'm looking at you, publishing industry). I agree with Donnell, that without solid management, you're not going to thrive, but I'd also say that the world is changing, and stores - whether chain or independent - and their management absolutely have to remain flexible if they're going to fill a need for the public.

Donnell said...

Ah, KL, you and me, Ms. Economics, Computer Savvy who I'm in awe of Scribe. This is what is needed an awesome Business Model that would have to compete with the online industry. You wrote a blog a while back, I believe, where you distressed about the disappearing bookstore. Books, with their pages, even their scent are a staple of writers.

Look at the mall owners; they can't compete because what are consumers doing? Buying on line because not only can they get it cheaper, they don't have the state and tax limitations.

Savvy business owners that surround yourself with brick and mortar, this one's on you. What say you?

Theresa said...

That's why I'm excited abt a new thing we're trying at the Crested Butte Writers conference. For registered attendees the local bookstore will order any books we want and give us a 10% discount AND have it waiting for us at registration. It's a win-win. He gets some business and I get a little discount!
I'm going to register and order my books next week!

Ronwriter said...

Consolidation has been a matter of fact for the past two decades. Spinning a term called "synergies" companies can come up with thousands of reasons to merge. The BN/Borders acquisition has been bouncing around since at least 2006, and may actually happen sometime. There are SEC, FTC and a number of other hurdles that need to be jumped before this deal can come together.

A frustration is that the boardrooms who put these deals together seem completely incapable of learning from all the failed mega-mergers of the last 20 years. AOL/Time Warner for example.

The upside for local businesses that over 60% of the American workforce is employed by companies smaller than 500 employees. As major corporations accelerate layoffs and experience financial disasters, the outlook for independent business will continue to grow.

How many editors, marketers, etc laid off from major houses will start their own small publishing firms? The same can be said about quality managers and others displaced by the "synergies" of a BN/Borders acquisition. We may see a lot of very creative new book distribution paths, and more exciting solutions.

Intelligent human beings are, if nothing else, reslient.

Ronwriter said...


Donnell said...

Excellent points, Ron.

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