JANE & CARIN

In a short blurb? We talk books.

Why Borders Failed While Barnes and Noble Survives

The day Borders closed, I ran to the Borders @ Penn Plaza after work to mourn. I walked through the shelves, remembering and lamenting, and proceeded to leave the building with a look back and a sigh, like the main character of a 90s show at the end of the series finale.

The next day I went to Barnes and Noble.

I mused about how this mogul survived while our other beloved bookstore did not. Well… there’s Starbucks vs. Seattle’s Best (kind of the same thing, but people will flock wherever that little mermaid chick shows her face), then there’s its fancy interior and exterior designs (which have always been more appealing than Borders), but my bet is that it all boils down to nook vs. Kobo. Case in point: I asked my boyfriend what he thought about this theory, and he replied “Nook vs. what?” NPR has a better researched, more sound theory as to why Borders closed while B&N did not, but you have to wonder how much impact the failure of the Kobo had on Borders’ struggles.

Either way, I imagine B&N must feel as I felt 2 years ago when I was running a movie rental business and Blockbuster was shutting down. First, excitement: My biggest competitor is gone! Now all people will have to go through me to get these products! Then, terror: If such a huge player in my business went under because of low consumer demand, what the bleep is going to happen to me?

Will B&N soon die also? I sure as heck hope not, for book publishers, book lovers, and the socialites that hang out in bookstores hoping for a meet-cute with a stranger who has similar book taste. How could we recreate the amazing experience of a physical bookstore virtually? And that’s not just an angsty rhetorical question, people, I’d actually love some input here.

-Carin

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This entry was posted on July 21, 2011 by in Carin, Insiders, News and tagged , , , , , .

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Words We Like

“I think it makes more sense to write what you don’t know. To write what makes you uneasy, what you wonder about, what keeps you awake at night."

— Lois Lowry, at the BEA Children’s Book and Author Breakfast

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