How Not to Run a Bookstore
March 27, 2008 1:17 PM Subscribe
The Demise of Borders Books.
posted by malaprohibita (119 comments total)
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Once calling itself a collection of individual stores and denying it was a chain, Borders
, begun in 1971 by brothers Tom and Louis
, is in deep financial trouble.
Competition from discounters like Walmart and Amazon, as well as rival Barnes & Noble, certainly factor into its current situation, but a number of bad business decisions and worsening employee relations are also to blame. After building a multimillion dollar distribution center and launching their own online store in 1998
, Borders eventually abandoned both and let Amazon take over their web operations
Then in 2001, the chain underwent a restructuring that eliminated most of its community relations staff and began culling its once-prized inventory. The culture shifted from one of "book people"
to Category Management
, a grocery store-like model of marketing research financed by vendors. But as Borders is finding out, what works for other retailers does not translate well at bookstores
disclaimer: I worked for Borders for several years, and so am somewhat intimate with its history.