The end.

I have mixed feelings about this. The shop had its moment in the TWOP sun, and it had a good media/journalism section – but jobs are being lost, and there is apostrophe abuse here, and the shop smacked a bit of Wal-Mart. Before I am excoriated let me say I yield to no-one in my admiration for Borders’ workers: they (including a former student of mine) were always helpful and showed a passion for books and reading. Why do we need exclamation marks? Is 20 per cent “massive”? How many people are being sacked? I am sure independent bookstore owners are weeping with sorrow.

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32 Responses to The end.

  1. Hoppo says:

    Maybe they should have expanded their business model beyond books written by Dan Brown and ‘written’ by Ricky Ponting.


    • RubyRuby says:

      Offering some books for adults would have been good.

      Saying that, I particularly liked the way they kept works by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Teh Dawkins, Hitchins et al in their “Religion” section.


    • NF#1 says:

      I think you’ll find Hoppo that the original model was to stock a massive range of backlist titles – those you were unlikely to find sitting on bookshop shelves elsewhere. Initially the range was good. The rot set in a couple of years ago when the Oz & NZ division was acquired by a dickhead private equity firm, who gutted the stores while adopting an overt supermarket or department store model in an attempt to appear paper-profitable for a stock market float and eventual resale. Might almost have worked if not for diminishing returns on aggressive discounting (I’m guessing 20-40% off is on already marked down prices, given that this was average discount before), GFC, and rise of online shopping (Book Depository anyone? Show me a discerning book buyer still who shops at retail outlets). I always had mixed feelings about Borders – it has gone the way of all dinosaurs; and, with a few exceptions, I think retail is generally doomed – but nevertheless offer my condolences to Borders staff.


      • Ljuke says:

        Yes. The first time I went to Borders Perth it took an hour to look through the fiction section, due to the massive selection of good stuff. When I went there six months back, I barely broke stride as I perused the walls of Pattersons and Picoults.


      • Hoppo says:

        I see. I only landed on these shores in 2008 which possibly explains why Borders and its sports-autobiography-laden offerings have always struck me as such an utter pile of pants.


  2. RubyRuby says:

    20% is massive. It would bring their prices down to Dymocks levels. Don’t get me started on online comparison shopping.


    • Jaidyn-Jaxxon says:

      20% seems massive but then there’s the 10% disparity between shelf price and RRP to consider, factoring in regular 20-30% discounts to anyone willing to jot down their email address, it’s not really as staggering as it sounds


  3. Grrr says:

    I guess this means I will have to check to see if anyone gave me gift vouchers at Christmas, since I believe Borders were using that legally dubious “you must spend twice the face value for redemption trick”.

    Although it appears they might be going down the “you can’t use them at all” route:


    • vegan says:

      angus and robertson have certainly gone down the no book vouchers will be redeemed under any circumstances road according to the posters in their stores.


  4. Phil from the City says:

    20 – 40% off will still not make them as cheap as online alternatives. Books are dead, therefore, bookshops are dead. Physical books, in the very near future, will be a niche market product. Electronic books are already outselling physical books at Amazon, and the speed of change is accelerating.

    There are a LOT of other retailers/industries that are soon to go the same way as books, and vinyl records. This isn’t “business as usual”, it really is a quite unique time in history.

    Personally, I am a big physical book collector, and a vinyl LP collector.


    • Jaidyn-Jaxxon says:

      Bookshops are struggling but there’s no way ‘books are dead’. Books have been around for millenia and are irreplaceable so far as portability, reproducibility and reliability of format is concerned. Comparing books to vinyl records is erroneous – a better comparison would be to printed or minted currency, which is certainly the first preference in a great many transactions but will never be phased out. E-book retailers are fucked in a different way because there’s next to nothing you can do to stop people downloading their product without paying (let alone ctrl-C/ctrl-V) without severely compromising the desirability of the product.
      But agreed, 20-40% is nothing. The only valid reason I can see for shopping at a shop is that the whopping markup ensures a decent living for the humanities graduate behind the counter who might otherwise be utterly forsaken in this uncaring world of ours :(


      • Phil from the City says:

        Just to clarify, by “dead” I mean “niche product”.

        It is a tricky one to predict, but there have been some amazing trade figures coming through this year – year-on-year drops of 35% on paper backs sold, things like that. All the while, ebook sales are up by huge percentages.

        ebooks are just as portable, arguably more reproducible – the hardware now costs only a few dollars to manufacture, the software (ebooks) is essentially free to manufacture and distribute, and with the cloud gaining traction in all kinds of areas, it is doubtful that “downloading” of ebooks (or mp3’s for that matter) will be with us for too much longer. Your entire ebook collection accessible by multiple cheap devices, anywhere you are on earth, is very close to reality. A few years tops.

        Again, I dislike predictions of the future – but really, all current evidence points to this being a done deal. Physical books continuing to decline until they reach “niche” status.

        I can see how the comparison to vinyl has some issues – but clearly there are a lot of similarities.

        As far as currency goes, wow, that’s a long conversation, but I don’t see currency hanging around either in the format it is currently in. Maybe we shouldn’t get into that one!


  5. skink says:

    I went into Borders on Monday, only because I had ten minutes to kill before a meeting in the offices upstairs. A surly assistant asked me if I needed help and I mentioned two authors I was browsing for, both worldwide bestsellers.

    ‘never heard of them,’ she said
    ‘perhaps you could look them up on the computer’
    ‘could you spell the names?’

    and then she actually said: ‘Computer says no.’

    made me realize why I buy books online from the States
    perhaps Bento has a suitable valedictory


    • Jaidyn-Jaxxon says:

      Yeah skink that was your cue, you should have said ‘lol’


      • RubyRuby says:

        My lol moment came on receiving an emailed apology from a librarian friend on Friday. She hadn’t got back to me on Thursday partly due to the despair around her workplace at the news that Borders was definitely going. They are all wondering what they are going to do for a handy all-weather shortcut between Hay and the Terrace now?!


  6. JaneZ says:

    I imagine it was only the public appetite for Stieg Larsson that kept them afloat over the past 12 months anyway, and he’s dead. Borders Sydney was good when it opened too, for music as well as books, and sucked shortly thereafter.


    • E.V. says:

      DFOC-correct me if I’m wrong, but the apostrophes are correctly located – if there is more than one administrator. If there’s only one, then the British apostrophe protection society should be told about it. (yes, they actually exist.)


  7. The Legend 101 says:

    I thought Borders had shut down oviously not.


  8. Hugh Jass says:

    Ahh… I’m just about to kick back and read my ebook on the Kindle.

    Night all.


  9. B.T. says:

    Since I started reading TWOP, I haven’t had time for books.


  10. Jaidyn-Jaxxon says:

    Lol, Medibank now offering a free Kobo with subscriptions


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