The death of bookstore chain Borders begs the question: Is there still a place in the Internet-dominated market for brick-and-mortar booksellers and the value they add? Independent bookstores thinks so, and the numbers in the American Booksellers Association, believe it or not, are growing.
Beginning as early as the end of the week, 6,000 Borders employees will be out work, and publishers will likely lose millions of dollars in bad debt. Hardest hit will be "midlist" authors -- those whose books aren't bestsellers but still do well enough to justify their publication.
Should the deeply troubled Borders chain close, publishers will survive just fine. But for authors who don't have instant name recognition with book buyers, the loss of an outlet with scads of shelf and floor space is a serious blow. Plus, it's one less place where authors and readers can connect.
24/7 Wall St. recently looked at a number of large American companies, some of which are owned by foreign companies, to see which will disappear in 2011. It didn't take long to come up with a list of familiar names such as Sara Lee, Office Depot, Borders, E*Trade and five others.
The country's second-largest bookstore widened its third-quarter loss to nearly double that of a year ago. Even worse, the estimated value of its inventory has declined, making it harder for Borders to borrow money. Will the company find a way to transform itself?
Borders, the nation's second-largest bookstore chain, has struggled for years due to competition from both fellow bricks-and-mortar outlets and online booksellers. It's latest move to combat that is an offer to match the competition's prices -- but the program's limits doom it failure.