Bye Bye, Borders

In air saturated with e-reads and digital intellect, old-fashioned scholars crave the spine-cracking book smell that hides between crisp bound pages. These bookish brainiacs will continue to yearn for hardcovers to handle since the nation’s second largest chain bookstore announced its collapse. Unfortunately, with more readers pursuing texts on the Web rather than on the shelves, and due to some gaps in the franchise’s management, Borders is going out of business. After filing for bankruptcy in February and failing to find a bidder to buy the store in an auction last week, Borders Bookstores announced its closing on Monday. Four hundred remaining locations and some 10,700 jobs will be nixed with the chain’s dissolution. Led by Hilco Merchant Resources, several liquidators will begin their work by Friday so that all liquidations will be complete by September. Since its 1971 founding, America’s second favorite book cellar has suffered on several accounts; beginning as a competitive retail environment, the company underwent frequent management changes and then failed to sufficiently  rival  online retailers and the digital book industry. Beheaded by Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kindle and Nook, Borders President Mike Edwards  speaks of the company’s failure to acclimate to a changing reading market, “Following the best efforts of all parties, we are saddened by this development. The headwinds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, e-reader revolution, and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now.” While traditional bookworms are disappointed that they’ll have to turn to Amazon rather than experiencing the tactile appeal of turning pages and browsing book-filled isles for impulse purchases, others parties are thrilled with Borders’ news; the independent bookstores or ‘mom and pop’ businesses in the reading world see the  powerhouse’s closing as an opportunity to dominate the consumer market. Many publishers will also mourn the superstore’s downfall because they’ll be forced to decrease print runs and shipments, and cut staff in the publishing houses that worked solely with Borders. With numbered days as Borders’ president, Steve Edwards used one of his last addresses to sum up the enriching, intellectual, and social stimulation that our newly bookless communities may soon thirst for, “For decades, our stores have been destinations within our communities – places where people have sought knowledge, entertainment, and enlightenment and connected with others who share their passion.”