Bye Bye Borders

The bookseller Borders is history.

Borders Group Inc. said it would liquidate after the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain failed to receive any offers to save it.

Borders, which employs about 10,700 people, scrapped a bankruptcy-court auction scheduled for Tuesday amid the dearth of bids. It said it would ask a judge Thursday to approve a sale to liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group.

The company said liquidation of its remaining 399 stores could start as soon as Friday, and it is expected to go out of business for good by the end of September.

From a consumer perspective, I always liked Borders more than Barnes & Noble so there’s a part of me that’s sad to see them go. But, to be honest, I’ve only been to a bookstore once this year and I don’t remember buying anything. Ever since I gave Marathon Girl a Kindle, we’ve downloaded all the books we read. The few times I’ve needed hard copies, I’ve ordered them off Amazon. So, yeah, I’m part of the reason Borders is history, but there are now more efficient means of purchasing books. Though a few bookstores will survive, their time has come. Bookstores are simply a victim to technology making life more productive and economical.

From an author perspective I’m not that broken up about Borders demise. Books will survive just like music survived the digital transition.  More efficient means of distribution are already making them cheaper* and available to more and more people. In the past the loss of a bookstore like Borders might have been devastating to authors. Now booksellers are losing their edge. You don’t have to be in a book store to be a best seller. There’s a lot more opportunities for authors now than there was two or three years ago. With some marketing savvy and ability to write books people want to read, the possibilities for authors and publishers are endless. There’s never been a better time to be an author than right now.

* The big six publishers still haven’t gotten this message. For example the upcoming Lee Child novel, The Affair, is priced at $13.99 for Kindle. Not cool. Not cool at all.