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Borders Bust Hurting More Than Just Books

When Borders announced it would liquidate its remaining 400 stores earlier this summer, it was no surprise that it would hurt the book industry. But what some may not have realized is that it also hurts magazines.

As you may recall, there are walls of newsstands filled with magazines inside both Borders and Barnes and Noble. I can remember a number of Friday nights spent with my friends in high school, just flipping through magazines at our local bookstore. We read all the juicy, gossipy ones our parents wouldn’t let us subscribe to.

But among those newsstands are lesser-known magazines — ones like Mother Jones, Witches and Pagans, and Crone. They’re smaller publications that don’t get the popular placement in supermarket checkout lines like People or Cosmopolitan.

According to this article by The News Frontier, with Borders going out of business, these smaller publications are suffering. And they don’t have many other options, as Alysia Santo explains:

She says Borders’ closing leaves her at a huge loss because there are very few outlets interested in stocking magazines which are specifically aimed at “pagans, witches, and goddess worshippers.” “I’m not checkout stand material,” says Niven. “People aren’t necessarily going to want to see a magazine about witches next to their gum.”

Add to that the financial burden of the magazines that don’t get sold before Borders closes, and these publications are already halfway out the door. Now they’re relying almost solely on subscribers.

It’s a sad time for the little guys. Will they ever come out on top?

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Borders is a Bust

All sales are final. As of tomorrow, Borders Bookstore is officially a bust. The once-popular chain will begin closing its remaining 400 stores nationwide, not only emptying shelves, but eliminating 11,000 jobs as well.

This comes after months of bankruptcy and failed attempts to sell and resurrect itself. So where did Borders go wrong?

1. The obvious reason; we are entering the digital world of paperless-ness. In fact, we are already in it. As online [book] shopping, e-readers, and tablets become more popular, the desire to buy a physical book is null and void.

2. As this WSJ article explains, other products in the store were beginning to hide the books altogether. As we all know, bookstores aren’t really just bookstores anymore. They’re fully equipped entertainment outlets, selling CDs, DVDs, and magazines. But once you start shielding the core of the store behind other products, the focus becomes unclear, as Matthew Dolan explains in his article:

Customers began to notice what made Borders distinctive was also disappearing. In Store No. 1, there are still books galore. But to reach them, customers must navigate through aisles of toys, stuffed animals, greeting cards, gift bags, compact discs and DVDs.

3. Barnes and Noble is better. I’ve always been a B&N girl myself. It may be the Starbucks cafe in each store. It might be the layout and look of the store. There’s also a good chance it’s the growth the company has seen after taking on the Nook, which is far more popular than Borders’ Kobo. Either way, it’s the number one bookstore nationwide, and Borders just couldn’t top it.

Whatever the reason, it’s sad to see such a staple leave the industry and say goodbye to thousands of employees, as well. What I’m wondering is, is there something Borders could have done to improve and save itself? What do you think?

***Here is another WSJ article that explains more about the financial struggle of Borders.

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