Even though, it was probably inevitable, this is sad to see. Ann Arbor will take a hit from this. Good luck to all those losing jobs.
Borders calling it quits
Channel 7 ran the numbers - I was only half-listening as I had just gotten out of bed, but it was something like 10,700 people nationwide, almost 900 in Michigan, and 400 or so in Ann Arbor alone. Some stores will be shuttered in the next few days, they said.
Not really trying to be picky here, but the coupon program was in part because they had high prices.
Without the coupon program, it would have been a long time since I shopped at Borders.
As someone with a degree in Library Science, I can assure you that E-books are definately not a fad. They are gaining ground as the technology continues to improve. Sure, us old school people like to physically turn the page, but the younger generation has everything digitized.
Barnes and Noble will begin selling E-books in different ways and probably have to make some business plan changes down the road, but right now I don't see E-books legitimately threatening their business model. However, it will down the road.
OP, this should have an OT designation as well
If I have to look at one for god forsaken screen...
The problem with our tech savvy young folks is that few of them know how to interact with the people. Um, that's a problem.
Give me the weight of a novel any day. And yes, I do yell at the neighboorhood kids to get off my lawn.
It is happening quickly. What surprises me is that I see many older people with Kindles or Ipads. Look at what has happened with newspapers....dying out all over the place (along with good investigative journalism). Ditto for pagers...technology marches on.
I can see huge advantages for school systems, assuming kids have a viewing device. You could greatly reduce the costs of textbooks.
Are you sure the textbook prices would go down?
Or would the textbook prices stay the same and the profitability of the textbooks go up.
Price gouging? I am SHOCKED!
For the record, should schoolbooks go E, I would demand there be regularly supplied updates for each purchased "copy". If I buy a US history book in January 2015, by December 2015, I want 2015 US history in the book.
I wish they would do books like they do movies. I don't always want to bring my kindle (out to the public pool, for example) so I would love if they did a free digital copy for your kindle/nook/ipad when you purchase a hard copy. Buy the hard copy of the book, and you get one free download of the book to an e-reader.
That would be awesome for display-type books as well. I'd love to have a set of the Harvard Classics on the bookshelf by my fireplace, but I'd prefer to actually read them on the train on the way to work on my kindle.
I love reading books and have collected lots of books over the years. Of all the things that I have gotten rid of over the years, I couldn't get rid of books...until last Christmas I got a Kindle. It is a great thing, if anything is fading it is the old school book. The ebooks are growing and will replace paper ones at some point in the future.
Reading from your Kindle app on your phone while rocking a napping 4-month old in one arm >>>>>>> Reading a book while rocking a napping 4-month old in one arm
Ugh, my eyes are strained enough already. When I get one, it will be the kind that LOOKS like ink on paper, and is just as easy on the eyes.
Borders learned the hard way that people want to
To your local record/tape/cd stores....
Because no one will ever want to give up vinyl.
Have you tried using a Kindle? I was a devout "books are irreplacable type" until I got one a gift and started playing around with it. The ease, conveniency and immediacy of a Kindle are just irresistable once you get a taste. Everyone will likely still buy coffee table books or hardcovers of their favorites for living room display, but denying the potential of eBooks were like all those commentators saying printed newspapers would never be replaced because people liked the tactile feel with their morning coffee.
I agree. I have an early Kindle and I really didn't use it a lot for the first year or two. Now that my books are also synced with the iPad and iPhone, the KIndle feels more convenient. Any book I buy for my kindle, I really can read ANYWHERE (except the shower. I guess) thanks to the multiple platforms.
Barnes and Noble will be fine because the soul less pricks bought up the rights to sell many of the colleges textbooks to students. So when you pay $200 for a book and sell it back for $40 they win twice. I hope and anticipate college text books to be obselete in the near future as well. With the rising cost of tuition, they have to or need to give you a break somewhere.
In my day most of my professors made us buy from Shaman Drum, which jacked up the price even further, in an attempt to keep that place alive.
Now it's a Five Guys. Good to see the scratch I could put together by flippin' pizzas and moving convention equipment to pay $150 for the professor's useless book on witchcraft went to a good cause.
I always loved the smell of Borders, though I bought into the corporate behomoth crap back in college. The upside is books are cheaper these days. I've spent less than $50 this year on new books reading digitally.
Thanks, Michigan humanities/garden-variety sciences, for making us buy our books from a hipster, overpriced store, and not making the books available anywhere else. I was glad when the Drum went under.
I never had to buy a textbook there (graduated before Shaman Drum was created) so I don't have your beef with them. They carried a large number of interesting books that the mass retailers wouldn't touch, and I was disappointed to see them close shop.
I agree that like so much everything else with higher education, textbook prices are completely insane and students get cornholed coming and going. It was unwise for UM profs to require students to buy expensive books from SD, if they were available elsewhere.
It's nuts that there now isn't a single real bookstore near the campus of one of the world's leading educational institution. I think Borders sealed its own fate when they sold out to Kmart in 1992. Kmart didn't know shit from shinola about the book trade, even after acquiring Waldenbooks several years earlier, and most of the senior Borders management quit when Kmart made the purchase. Before long Kmart sold off Borders, but by then I think the gradual process of decline was in motion.
The Drum treated students horribly. They had poor planning for moving massive numbers of kids through the upstairs and refused to let us carry laptop satchels in for fear we'd shoplift. I remember standing on the stairs for 45 minutes, getting up there and ending up leaving is disgust.
All I can say to that is treat me like a criminal and you don't get my business. I went in for a burger on the grand opening of Five Guys for a victory burger. It has to rot the old owner's soul that a chain burger store now occupies the space. At least I hope it does.
(Yes I'm a bit vindicative.)
Exactly. While a generally like quirky independent bookstores, that hellish experience guaranteed I would never go back in for casual browing.
Don't forget their ridiculous return policy. If you had the misfortune of having to drop a class 4 days after you bought your books there, enjoy your 200 dollars worth of full-price textbooks. Which you could sell back for about 10. And don't think that you could have just gone in and written down what the books were (or, God forbid, TAKEN A PICTURE!) with the hawkish staff staring you down and stopping you from doing so. After all, profs gave Shaman Drum the book lists ahead of time, but never us students.
I feel bad in theory for Shaman Drum as an independent book retailer, but not in reality, because it was just such a sham. You gotta love how the owner publicly rallied against book lists being made public to students ahead of the first day of classes solely because it shot down his exclusivity.
Even better--Shaman Drum once ordered the wrong book for one of my classes (one of five for that class) and by the time the professor had given us the list so we could see the mistake they wouldn't allow us to exchange the books or sell them back. Because they fucked up and sold us the wrong book, we ended up saddled with a useless $50 book AND still were on the hook for the correct book which came in later. Fuck Shaman Drum. I was so happy when they shut down.
Isn't there kind of a Barnes in Nobles in the Union basement now? Or is that closed down now as well?
It was there a year or so ago, it's one the B&N college book stores. So not a normal B&N. As mentioned above, B&N has that market cornered.
Did you take the History of Witchcraft with the prof that looks like Obama? That class was awesome!
The Classic Civ Deptartment has some of the best classes in the University. Second only to Witchcraft was my Greek Myth class taught by Verhoogt.
naw, my class was a lady who wanted to make the Salem Witch Trials about the suppression of women, and only the suppression of women. When she taught anything but her book she put the class to sleep. However there was a theory someone had in the coursepack that was MGotacular -- the guy traced where the victims lived versus where the accusing families lived and there was a clear delineation between the uber-religious town and the victims who served the road to Boston.
I can't imaging a lot of those textbooks aren't going to move over to cheaper eBooks in the near future. You can already get most books for English/Classics type classes for free or dirt-cheap digitally and this in year in law school I was able to get about half of my books for far cheaper on Kindle (albiet w/out the ability to attempt to resell them before new editions destroyed there value). As I remember, in my last year at Michigan some of the engineering profs were giving students books as PDFs somehow.
in e-books? I can't imagine law school without being able to book brief.
I wish I was a freshman again, I would have saved a lot of money (and knew the texts better) if ebook technology was three years ahead. As a senior this year I wouldn't recoup the cost of buying a Kindle/Nook/iPad, but if I was going through college again it would definitely be worth it.
You can make notes and you can also instantly search for keywords in the text. Jesus... I can only imagine all the hours I would have saved had ebooks been an alternative when I studied Medicine.
There's also the added benefit of having to carry one small Kindle or whatever you're using as opposed to those big lawl school books.
Hey Guys, I know this is unrelated/off-topic but I just recently joined and I wanted to post a topic related to a video I made. If anyone could help me out I would appreciate it. The link is a parody of the Ohio State scandal using the Inception movie trailer.
Here's the actual link to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH1jeePj80A
Just so you know I'm not trolling, I posted it on Maize 'n Brew already. Here's that link for verification: http://www.maizenbrew.com/2011/7/19/2282663/ohio-state-inception-parody
Thanks in advance.
Wait, so how did you get 300 points in one day? Did you hold Tim at gunpoint and demand 300 points?
for every book I bought from Amazon instead of supporting the local guy. Damn property values in Ann Arbor about to take another dive.
Anyone know how many Borders employees there are in Ann Arbor?
That number is about right (quite low compared it it's high of about 1500 7ish years ago). First round of layoffs will occur next Friday (7/29). I'm not sure how long until everyone is gone, but probably under 2 months.
My wife works there, though I'm in Cincinnati for a postdoc, so I can't really say I'm quite as sad about them closing because she'll get to move down here with me! If only we can find her a good job down here...
But I loved going to the Borders here in Chicago. It was great just spending time wandering up and down the aisles looking at books from authors I hadn't read, picking up something that I might never have seen before, listening to authors speak there. I've adopted e-book readers because of the convenience, but it's definitely not the same as sitting with a good paper book.
yes, I have all my books on my nook at a fraction of the weight
I loved going to the State Street store as a kid in the 70's, then they blew up and somewhere around the K-Mart buyout they lost me.
In the 90's Borders ravaged independent bookstores across the country. Their strategy was to open a store just down the street from a successful local shop and use their distribution channels to keep prices low, and just siphon customers. What Walmart did to downtowns across America, Borders did to book shops.
Thousands of former bookstore owners, employees, and customers are enjoying some schadenfreude today.
Ebooks are the future. Tablets and Kindles will only continue to climb in sales!!!
while the demand for books in print is decreasing, I feel like it will never reach zero ... perhaps the print book will relegated to a small, niche role, but it seems far-fetched to imagine that it will ever truly become extinct.
& so it would follow for book stores, too - maybe big chains can't stick around, but there ought to be demand enough for little shops here & there ... then again, I know nothing about economics (I regret not taking more econ classes).
the bigger question I ask myself from time to time is: who does advancing technology benefit most? this seems to be an example of a new technology (e-readers & digital format texts) resulting in convenience & affordability for consumers, more profit for corporations, but fewer jobs for the masses.
mgoblog community, you are a pretty clever group - please feel free to teach me anything useful on this topic.
AFAIK books require economies of scale to be profitable. If placing an order at a publishing house for a new, say, John Grisham book costs $5 per book when 1m books are ordered, that cost would skyrocket if 1,000 books were ordered. Then you have a situation where nearly everyone has an ereader of some kind, Amazon will sell the ebook for $10 and the book at the local bookstore costs $50. Obviously that's a very elementary example with made up numbers, but the idea is there.
Disintermediation was the phenomenon that essentially killed Borders. Once Direct-to-consumer bookselling (not to mention all other media) was cheap and profitable, Borders was more or less on the clock.
Purchasing power is another big advantage that, say, Amazon would have over Borders, as mentioned. It's certainly how Wal-Mart was able to systematically murder Main Street.
You're definitely right about that (and I think that the paper book market will move more to Wal Mart and Target than speciality stores) but I was more explaining how the demand for books might hit zero, instead of demand being an asymptote. Once the printers are taking all small orders, price is going to rise exponentially and very few people are going to pay twice or three times as much for a book as they do today when a substitute is available. In that scenario we could be left with virtually no books being published on paper.
Eventually, e-books will more or less be the rule, although I don't think you'll see print go away. It is, after all, "storage" of a sort. I can see a point in the future when the printed word is really only found in the repositories known as "libraries" and in the offices of nostalgic folks such as myself, but virtually all day-to-day reading is done on a digital device. I am nearly at that point now in my professional life - all the specifications and manuals I reference I have linked on my iPad.
I don't think there will ever be no paper books, but there is a conceivable way it could happen, which is what the original guy was asking (or at least that's what I thought he was asking). I'm still doing everything for school the old fashioned way, and it's hard to imagine a time when that won't be the case.
We have now the technology for that very thing to occur, but there will always be a physical book to reference for whatever you are researching, in my opinion. You simply won't have to go to the trouble of finding it at a store or in a library ever again basically, although the facilities would be there.
Borders was already on life support before e-books took off. And besides, e-books only account for, and this is based on one unscientific study, 25% of the market. Sure it's growing, but we're still a ways off from books being replaced by e-books.
Borders died because of overexpansion and the high cost of maintaining stock for so many locations. Just like Circuit City. This was exacerbated by Borders' policy of letting you sit there are read through the books without buying anything. Because who wants to buy something that's been read through twice, as new?
As far as e-books are concerned, IMO they'll replace mass market paperbacks...you know, the $6.99 things whose spines crack so easily, have cheesy cover artwork and look terrible on your shelves. That's a big chunk of the market. But I seriously doubt this is the end of paper books...having been around for centuries upon centuries makes it a shade different from CDs...
You're right that e-books didn't kill Borders right now. There bigger problem was the poor choice in expansion and also a lack of ever developing an internet presence (seriously, Borders didn't develop their own website until 2009!!!!).
People should note that the margins on e-books are paper thin (pun intended). Many of Border's e-readers were sold with a $0.50 margin over cost (so once you factor in stocking, etc. they are sold at a loss). I don't know what the margin is exactly on e-books, but it's pretty thin too. It's definetly a commodity transaction that is based on large bulk sales. So it doesn't make much money for anyone.
While e-books have outpaced hardbacks, paperbacks still greatly outsell e-books.
I can understand some of the draw of ebooks, I still can't say I like them. Almost every book I've bought in the last couple years I've lent out to someone who was interested in reading it after I was finished. And I've borrowed a book series myself before then turning around and buying it because I liked it so much.
I know several people, including my girlfriend, with kindles, but after trying to use one I was left unimpressed.
If they are a close friend and not a casual acquaintance, you just swap kindles. I agree, it would be really nice if they added a lending feature.
I will miss bookstores (worked at one for 5 years in college) but like others have said with the cost and convience of eBooks...you cant help but change.
I still have not purchased a Kindle as I am waiting on a good Android tablet to emerge during Black Friday sales this year but once that happens my days of packing 6 books in my luggage are over for a weeks vacation are over (I read 6 books on our honeymoon; nothing like the ocean, a book and a Bubbakeg to keep your beer cold).
My wife worked at a Borders as a supervisor for a few years. And although I'm said to see an Ann Arbor based company go, according to her stories on how they ran the company, they were always asking for failure. There's no room for a company in any industry that cares so little for their employees and customers.
I was there today and bought a book...
They are going to have some sales/liquidation stuff going on Friday. If you wanna get into Borders, you probably need to do it soon!
The market is probably not quite set for this:
Renting a book sounds great, but 30 days? The reduction in price probably wont' be 80% if you need it for 3-4 months.
but Borders deserved to die. They should have been bankrupt years ago, I'm amazed they kept operating this long. I worked at the Union Bookstore a few years ago, and bestsellers were always 30 percent off retail at release. Borders would sometimes have 15 percent off or 30 percent off of not as many bestsellers, and would refuse to discount DVDs or music. A business model of "charge 20% more than everyone else and expect people to buy it just because it's Borders" could never survive.