Borders gone!

johnboy 2 June 2011 69
Borders

Liquidators Ferrier Hodgson have announced they haven’t been able to find a buyer for Borders and so the remaining bookstores, including the ones in Canberra, will close.

A total of 315 staff will be affected by the closures, which will take place over the next six to eight weeks.

The final Borders stores will close on July 17, but others may close sooner dependent on the sellthrough of remaining stock.

The Administrator, Mr John Melluish, said the stores are closing because no buyers had emerged for the Borders outlets.

As a lover of books it always seemed that while Borders (and Angus and Robertson for that matter) might have had a lot of books, but they didn’t do a great job of pointing the reader to the best books.


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69 Responses to Borders gone!
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NickD NickD 6:27 pm 02 Jun 11

The Canberra Borders is certainly a good case study in how to not run what should have been a very viable business. The stock clearly wasn’t tailored to local interests, prices were routinely marked up by 10% compared to the rates in other stores (and about 100% compared to rates available on the internet) and the staff didn’t know much about the books they were selling – often even whether they were in stock or where they were shelved! The fact that they were air freighting week old editions of weekly news magazines from the US and then selling them at premium rates says it all really. It’s a shame that people are losing their jobs and we’re losing a bookshop, but the writing has been on the wall for a while.

creative_canberran creative_canberran 5:55 pm 02 Jun 11

johnboy said :

The printed book won’t die any more than the illuminated manuscript died.

But it will become irrelevant to future publishing.

Don’t say that JB… Canberra’s export income will disappear if those warehouses in Fyshwick have no stores to ship too!

Boring_Name Boring_Name 5:30 pm 02 Jun 11

Mysteryman said :

I love hearing the “death of print” predictions.

I know how you feel. it goes hand in hand with the “death of the postal system” doomsayers. People forget how massive Amazon, etc. is, and somehow have forgotten how the books get from the supplier to the people who ordered them.

I don’t own an e-reader, and I have no intention on buying one until I can be sure that I’m not being ripped off on the price of what is essentially nothing (an infinitely copyable file). I understand that money has to go the the author/distributor, but charging almost as much as a printed copy is beyond me.

Jim Jones said :

What’s the difference between reading an ebook in a comfy chair and reading a paperback in a comfy chair?

Quite right, there is no difference. But what’s the difference between having your bag stolen with your e-reader in it, and having you bag stolen with one paperback in it? When was the last time you felt comfortable whipping out an expensive electronic device on crowded public transport? Nobody ever mugged you for your book before, right? Or what happens when the book you’re reading gets wet, or you accidentally drop it? You can still read a damaged book…

Back on topic.
I personally think that one of the reasons Borders went under is because of the high markup of books, particularly for classics. Last time a checked, these works were in the public domain, yet Borders tried to charge roughly the same amount as a non-classic. Even the Penguin series (or what have you), that are intended to be cheap, are still priced around the $20 mark. One look at Amazon shows just how ridiculous this markup is, as they generally don’t charge close to that amount. Even the smaller/independent book stores don’t gouge by that much, and they are supposed to have less buying power.

I can’t be the only person who used Borders as a walk-in catalogue for “stuff I’ll buy off the internet later.”

mouthface mouthface 5:23 pm 02 Jun 11

Stevian said :

Jim Jones said :

neanderthalsis said :

johnboy said :

Any business based on selling hard copy media is doomed.

What will be left will be selling the object, not the information within.

But that’s OK, because the opportunity is there to sell lovely cases for our kindles.

There are a lot of ardent bibliophiles out there (me included) that consider e-readers to be an abomination before God and all things holy. Having a kindle with 3000 e-books just isn’t the same as a book lined room with a comfy chair.

What’s the difference between reading an ebook in a comfy chair and reading a paperback in a comfy chair?

The only one I can see is that the ebook reader is generally a lot more convenient. It’s lighter and easier to handle, you can alter the font to your desired size, and so on.

I dunno – a lot of this sounds like people saying that they refuse to drive cars because nothing compares to the experience of riding a horse.

I’ve held a kindle I’ve held a book. Books are better

I’m not sure what the reason for the demise of Borders is, but I would hazard a guess and say it has less to do with the advent of e-books than some people are assuming.
Sure, Kindle sales, along with all tablets, are growing, and the sale of e-books has been growing at a massive rate as hard copy has declined, but this is normal as the adoption of this new technology is taken up by those who prefer it. At some point it will probably plateau and we will have a clearer picture of the future of print. I believe that there will always be people who will just prefer the hard copy over the digital version, and for a number of reasons. For example, books make great gifts – it just seems a little weird to give your mum a download of Donna Hay’s latest release as a Mother’s Day present – and they look good on the shelf or on the coffee table. Their tactile nature is more attractive to many and somehow, to many people they just “feel right”.
It is also interesting to note that after the release of the ipad, many punters were predicting the end of the hard copy magazine as more and more people would start to download their favourite periodical, but the facts show that the sale of magazine downloads has taken a dramatic turn for the worse once the initial novelty has worn off. Some publishers have reported declines of downloads as high as 60% in the last year.
So back to Borders, maybe it was just bad management, or the effects of the GFC etc etc..

Mr Waffle Mr Waffle 5:14 pm 02 Jun 11

I’d just like to thank the RiotACT for introducing me to booko.com.au (and through that, bookdepository.co.uk) many moons ago. Novels for <$10? Textbooks for 1/3 the price? I've actually bought MORE books thanks to the evil internet discount retailers. It's a great time to be a reader!

Mysteryman Mysteryman 5:09 pm 02 Jun 11

Jim Jones said :

Mysteryman said :

I love hearing the “death of print” predictions.

I buy more books now that I ever have. The internet has allowed me to source a greater variety of hard copy books than I ever could have 10 years ago. The same can be said for all my friends who are readers. Design, photography and architecture books are what I usually buy, and you can’t view them on an e-reader because of the large photographic content.

I think it will be a long time before anything is created that can replace the enjoyment of holding a book in your hands. For me, at least.

I also buy a lot of pictorially dependent print books, because the ebook technology hasn’t yet reached the point where reproduction is satisfactory (although that will no doubt change very very quickly, with the Ipad not only providing lush images, but also starting to include image interactivity, and now with the development and progression of coloured e-ink).

But the tide is slowly changing – Amazon is now selling more ebooks than paperback and hardback combined, and they are far from being the only ones witnessing the shift.

Given that ebook readers are still in relative infancy and are owned by a minority of readers (although the uptake is on a very sharp upswing – and it’s worth noting that ebook readers tend to be owned by the most voracious readers), it’s pretty clear that paperbacks (at very least those that are solely text-based) will be supplanted by ebooks.

I don’t know why some people find this threatening. It’s liberating.

Compare it to what happened in the music industry. Since the death of hard copy formats (vinyl, tapes, CD) and the move to electronic files, all varieties of music are infinitely easier to get hold of, listen to, share, and there’s been an upsurge of amateur and semi-professional recordings (as opposed to the previous dominance of recording artists who were pushed by large recording companies).

The same kind of thing is already happening with publishing – the relatively low overheads involved in producing an ebook (as opposed to the costs involved with storing and shipping expensive printed books – not to mention the operational costs involved when you add retail markups and the rest) means that there’s a lot more books available to choose from, without prohibitive costs. This involves more people reading, not less.

Yes, printed copies will probably exist in one way or another for a long time. Just in the same way that vinyl has made a small resurgence of late (“because you can’t hug an mp3”), but it’s a minor part of the market for a small group of collectors, as will printed books be, I think.

The book is dead, long live the book.

I’ve used iPad, Galaxy Tabs, and an endless list of new technology. I would never trade a large photo book for an ipad, or anything like it. I can see that each has a place, and I get that people love iPads and other gadgets. When it comes to books, though, I prefer hard copies.

Let’s not forget that the statistic about e-books outselling HARDCOVER books is for one company only – Amazon – which is also the company that produces the Kindle. They are selling more e-books than hardcovers. There was no mention of selling more e-books than printed books. That’s an important distinction. Just as importantly, during the same announcement, the Amazon CEO said that hardcover sales had also increased during the same period. So really, the argument that e-books are killing print books is specious at best.

I like the simplicity of being able to write on a page with a pen when I need to make notes. I like the feeling of paper on my fingers. I like being able to turn pages in large format photo books. I really like being able to lend and borrow books to friends. I don’t expect everyone to feel the same, but for those reasons, I’ll keep buying hard copies.

Ryoma Ryoma 4:56 pm 02 Jun 11

Mysteryman said :

I love hearing the “death of print” predictions.

I buy more books now that I ever have. The internet has allowed me to source a greater variety of hard copy books than I ever could have 10 years ago. The same can be said for all my friends who are readers. Design, photography and architecture books are what I usually buy, and you can’t view them on an e-reader because of the large photographic content.

I think it will be a long time before anything is created that can replace the enjoyment of holding a book in your hands. For me, at least.

Mysteryman, I too appreciate the feel of books for their own sake, and I agree that some books – in my case, ones about architecture and Japanese culture – are always going to hold a special place that cannot be replicated by an e-reader, and I’ll happily pay for them.

But for other books, given that my space is at a premium, I’ll be going on-line – and that, I guess, is the bottom line for the economic shift.

damien haas damien haas 4:31 pm 02 Jun 11

And now Borders is going, one has to ask – was it worth the death of all the small specialised bookshops ?

rosscoact rosscoact 4:24 pm 02 Jun 11

Borders – the greatest waste of retail space in Canberra CBD – how could they have so many books that nobody (or at least too few to survive) wanted to read at a price that was higher than anywhere else?

E books – I buy e books and if I really find it useful (I’m mainly talking reference here) I buy a print version. I’ve done it about 5 times now and it’s so easy. Download the book from Kindle, read it on the ipad, flip a page and look up booko, order and bob’s you mother’s live-in lover. Ina week or so it arrives, postage free for 1/3 to 1/2 the price that Borders charge

baldilocks baldilocks 4:18 pm 02 Jun 11

FYI for the bookworms
Amazon UK have a sale on now until 15 August whereby freight to Aust for virtually all books is FREE.
I’ve been buying new release paperbacks for 1/3 or less the A$ price. Eg the Stieg Larsson set of 3 books – in Oz they are $20 plus each – I got the set of 3 for $19

Stevian Stevian 4:09 pm 02 Jun 11

Jim Jones said :

neanderthalsis said :

johnboy said :

Any business based on selling hard copy media is doomed.

What will be left will be selling the object, not the information within.

But that’s OK, because the opportunity is there to sell lovely cases for our kindles.

There are a lot of ardent bibliophiles out there (me included) that consider e-readers to be an abomination before God and all things holy. Having a kindle with 3000 e-books just isn’t the same as a book lined room with a comfy chair.

What’s the difference between reading an ebook in a comfy chair and reading a paperback in a comfy chair?

The only one I can see is that the ebook reader is generally a lot more convenient. It’s lighter and easier to handle, you can alter the font to your desired size, and so on.

I dunno – a lot of this sounds like people saying that they refuse to drive cars because nothing compares to the experience of riding a horse.

I’ve held a kindle I’ve held a book. Books are better

Holierthanthou Holierthanthou 4:04 pm 02 Jun 11

Books vs ebooks is different to vinyl vs CD or VHS vs DVD. ebooks have taken off and will conintue to chomp aggressively into the market share but printed books will still be around as a major player for a long time. And not just as niche like vinyls or reel-to-reel or horses or gaslight are today.

But good riddance to your high prices and pre-read-heavily-thumbed books.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 3:59 pm 02 Jun 11

neanderthalsis said :

johnboy said :

Any business based on selling hard copy media is doomed.

What will be left will be selling the object, not the information within.

But that’s OK, because the opportunity is there to sell lovely cases for our kindles.

There are a lot of ardent bibliophiles out there (me included) that consider e-readers to be an abomination before God and all things holy. Having a kindle with 3000 e-books just isn’t the same as a book lined room with a comfy chair.

What’s the difference between reading an ebook in a comfy chair and reading a paperback in a comfy chair?

The only one I can see is that the ebook reader is generally a lot more convenient. It’s lighter and easier to handle, you can alter the font to your desired size, and so on.

I dunno – a lot of this sounds like people saying that they refuse to drive cars because nothing compares to the experience of riding a horse.

astrojax astrojax 3:57 pm 02 Jun 11

Mysteryman said :

I think it will be a long time before anything is created that can replace the enjoyment of holding a book in your hands. For me, at least.

+1

and unlike vinyl, you don’t need specialised equipment to use a book. what will happen when your kindle packs it in and you’re three pages from the end of a thriller?? plus, i love being able to re-find text in a book because you have a memory of sort of where on which page it was and so can be found flicking back through the pages. long live books.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 3:56 pm 02 Jun 11

Mysteryman said :

I love hearing the “death of print” predictions.

I buy more books now that I ever have. The internet has allowed me to source a greater variety of hard copy books than I ever could have 10 years ago. The same can be said for all my friends who are readers. Design, photography and architecture books are what I usually buy, and you can’t view them on an e-reader because of the large photographic content.

I think it will be a long time before anything is created that can replace the enjoyment of holding a book in your hands. For me, at least.

I also buy a lot of pictorially dependent print books, because the ebook technology hasn’t yet reached the point where reproduction is satisfactory (although that will no doubt change very very quickly, with the Ipad not only providing lush images, but also starting to include image interactivity, and now with the development and progression of coloured e-ink).

But the tide is slowly changing – Amazon is now selling more ebooks than paperback and hardback combined, and they are far from being the only ones witnessing the shift.

Given that ebook readers are still in relative infancy and are owned by a minority of readers (although the uptake is on a very sharp upswing – and it’s worth noting that ebook readers tend to be owned by the most voracious readers), it’s pretty clear that paperbacks (at very least those that are solely text-based) will be supplanted by ebooks.

I don’t know why some people find this threatening. It’s liberating.

Compare it to what happened in the music industry. Since the death of hard copy formats (vinyl, tapes, CD) and the move to electronic files, all varieties of music are infinitely easier to get hold of, listen to, share, and there’s been an upsurge of amateur and semi-professional recordings (as opposed to the previous dominance of recording artists who were pushed by large recording companies).

The same kind of thing is already happening with publishing – the relatively low overheads involved in producing an ebook (as opposed to the costs involved with storing and shipping expensive printed books – not to mention the operational costs involved when you add retail markups and the rest) means that there’s a lot more books available to choose from, without prohibitive costs. This involves more people reading, not less.

Yes, printed copies will probably exist in one way or another for a long time. Just in the same way that vinyl has made a small resurgence of late (“because you can’t hug an mp3”), but it’s a minor part of the market for a small group of collectors, as will printed books be, I think.

The book is dead, long live the book.

bobbatty bobbatty 3:53 pm 02 Jun 11

John Moulis said :

kezzafezza said :

I’ve got my books online for awhile now. A book I recently purchased was over $40 at Borders, and I got it from Amazon for only $13.
I’d love it if someone could post here if they notice Borders are having a massive closing sale. Last week Angus and Robertson in Woden were selling all their books in store on their final day for a gold coin each. I wish I had of known! A friend of mine got about 80 brand new books for $80.

I got there in the late afternoon when the shelves were almost all empty. Still managed to pick up 8 books for $8.00. There were several copies of Steve Vizard’s autobiography and surprisingly a book about gay sex also remained unsold.

Bugger missed it!

neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 3:50 pm 02 Jun 11

johnboy said :

Any business based on selling hard copy media is doomed.

What will be left will be selling the object, not the information within.

But that’s OK, because the opportunity is there to sell lovely cases for our kindles.

There are a lot of ardent bibliophiles out there (me included) that consider e-readers to be an abomination before God and all things holy. Having a kindle with 3000 e-books just isn’t the same as a book lined room with a comfy chair.

John Moulis John Moulis 3:44 pm 02 Jun 11

kezzafezza said :

I’ve got my books online for awhile now. A book I recently purchased was over $40 at Borders, and I got it from Amazon for only $13.
I’d love it if someone could post here if they notice Borders are having a massive closing sale. Last week Angus and Robertson in Woden were selling all their books in store on their final day for a gold coin each. I wish I had of known! A friend of mine got about 80 brand new books for $80.

I got there in the late afternoon when the shelves were almost all empty. Still managed to pick up 8 books for $8.00. There were several copies of Steve Vizard’s autobiography and surprisingly a book about gay sex also remained unsold.

cubicle01 cubicle01 3:30 pm 02 Jun 11

*Sale update*
As of this afternoon Boarders are still only offering 20% off marked price on most stuff (didnt check the whole store).

If anyone is close by during the week would appreciate updates as the % increases.

Postalgeek Postalgeek 3:23 pm 02 Jun 11

kezzafezza said :

I’ve got my books online for awhile now. A book I recently purchased was over $40 at Borders, and I got it from Amazon for only $13.
I’d love it if someone could post here if they notice Borders are having a massive closing sale. Last week Angus and Robertson in Woden were selling all their books in store on their final day for a gold coin each. I wish I had of known! A friend of mine got about 80 brand new books for $80.

If you cross your fingers Borders might drop their price to RRP.

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