I know I mentioned this the other day in passing, when it was just an incredibly probable rumor I believe, but Borders(NYSE:BGP) is officially filing for Bankruptcy. As one might expect, they’re not about to just disappear, but it seems the Kindle is having its effect on the local book store ever more visibly.
The current plan appears to be a reorganization involving the closing of between 200 and 275 stores, thirty percent or more of the total chain, with the final number being dependent on what sort of concessions are able to be attained from the leaseholders on the 75 stores in limbo at this time. These 200+ stores are doing poorly enough right now that they are costing the company millions of dollars every week with little chance that number would have been able to turn around in the immediate future.
As much as it’s a bit disconcerting to get a reminder once again that the local book store you can just walk into whenever you want may soon be a memory, there’s a certain amount of irony in the reminder when you consider how recently people lamented the failure of the locally-owned book store in the face of big name megastores springing up all over the country. Borders was one of the driving forces behind that move and now they can’t keep up either. Something of a failure to adapt, perhaps.
What this means for your average Kindle fan or user is, perhaps unsurprisingly enough, not much. Borders has been a retailer for a number of eReader devices over the past few years, including the fairly popular Kobo eReader, and was in fact a big factor for a short time when they brought the Kobo to the US and provided the then-expensive Kindle with a competitively priced counterpart that could be seen right in a store. In spite of this, however, the Kobo is not and has never been a Borders controlled device or platform.
This may be the big factor in the Borders downfall, when it comes right down to it. Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) hasn’t been doing amazingly in the past few years, but their Nook has been nothing but helpful and the Nook Color has an impressive following. The Kindle is obviously not so much connected directly to any brick & mortar book store, but its widespread availability and the robust platform behind it has pretty much defined the eBook industry as we see it today. For Borders to think to get by in this newest stage of the book industry riding on the innovations and productions of other companies while offering little to no cohesive core to bind them all together may have been a bit unrealistic.
If you happen to find yourself near one of the Borders stores being shut down, be on the lookout for fliers and posters because it appears that there will be stock liquidation sales at any number of locations as the restructuring moves forward. Grab what you can while it’s there and cheap! Should you find yourself book store free following the closings, hopefully a Nook or Kindle will hold you over until something better comes along in your neighborhood.