Borders Book: The Good, The Bad, and the Discounts

Posted on July 25, 2011


If you like to read it’s time to make one more trip to Borders Books. The chain is going out of business and, if you can find a store that’s still open, will be offering big discounts on their remaining stock.

But beyond what we can learn from reading discounted books there are a couple of lessons to take away from the demise of Borders:

Don’t Bet Against Technology

In an article for Business Insider, Gus Lubin notes that since the mid 1990’s Barnes and Noble has invested in online sales and its own e-reader. Borders went the other way investing in larger retail stores that included big sections for CDs and DVD’s just as those industries were starting to go digital.

When I read this it makes me wonder about leaders in the radio industry who don’t believe in streaming our products or who say that Pandora isn’t eroding terrestrial listening. I’ll bet those discussions sound a lot like the ones that took place in the conference rooms at Borders’ offices circa 1995.

Be Transparent

When the company’s trouble started a few months ago members of Borders’ Rewards club, like me, got an email from Mike Edwards, the company’s CEO. It explained why the company was going into Chapter 11 and, more importantly, what that meant to consumers in regard to things like store operations, reward points and e-book libraries.

I was only a member of the club because it had saved me some money on a purchase a few years back. I had no real allegiance to Borders over any other bookseller. But the email was such a refreshing change from the usual corporate silence in times of trouble that it caused me to start rooting for the chain to survive.

I recently received a second email explaining the current situation, giving details on how things will be wrapped up and thanking me for being a customer. Proving again, much like the recent final broadcast of Q101, it is possible to say goodbye in a positive, classy way.

Go Shopping

A Borders store near me was closed as part of the initial bankruptcy proceedings a few months ago. I stopped in toward the end of the process and, while the selection was pretty picked over, I got some awesome deals. The liquidation sale started on July 21 so I would say this coming weekend would be a great time to go shopping.