Saturday, February 19, 2011
As the Borders empire enters into the stark, dark world of bankruptcy, we can now see a bright dawn for independent publishers and booksellers. For nearly three decades, Borders dominated the book selling market, casting a massive shadow over local stores and independents, leaving little sunlight for them in the marketplace. Borders, just like any other company, had a right to grow as powerful as they dared; however, they lost a little something along the way to the top. Like most businesses, Borders had humble beginnings, but that memory was put far behind them once they virtually captured the market. I speak specifically, and from experience, about book returns to independent publishers. It meant nothing for Borders to order massive amounts of books from a publisher, then turn right around and return the majority of them damaged (literally thrown in boxes) and bill the publisher for them. This practice bankrupted many, and irrevocably changed the landscape of the book market. It wasn't just the return; it was the damage to books that could not be resold. Thankfully, the returns policy is now facing reform in the industry, but it's a shame that Borders had a role during the darkest hour. It remains uncertain if Borders will survive the bankruptcy. It was undone by multiple factors, but mainly, it was due to our rapidly-changing marketplace. For players in the book industry now, it will be up to those who are able to adapt quickly. For those who persevere in this industry, there is a new day waiting.