Clash of the Book Worms

The age-old battle of Borders versus Barnes & Nobles may be near an end. Though the book-selling giants have come head to head for years, Borders has fallen into bankruptcy status. As a report by Publisher’s Weekly noted, “for the first time the book industry is openly, and in many cases actively, planning for what business will be like without the nation’s second largest bookstore chain.” So what happened?

Digital books: B&N led the way with the NOOK, it’s own e-reader, while Borders depends on uncool devices like the Kobo or Cruz for their digital offerings.

Too many stores: Borders opened up way too many stores in areas that could not support the chain. Yes, B&N also had to close storefronts, but their financial situation meant the reshuffling had less of an impact than was the case with Borders.

Delayed payments: Better late then never doesn’t ring so well in publisher’s ears when it comes to payments, which have now been turned into interest-bearing notes.

Maybe Borders and B&N will combine to became a book-selling supergiant. Or maybe not. In the meantime, it looks like publishers are getting antsy, canceling author tours and other events at Borders across the nation. They better start rethinking print runs in general, for if Borders goes under, the world will be 674 bookstores less.

photo credit: Digital Trends


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