Not To Bludgeon the Dying Horse
The printed book market just doesn’t seem large enough for Borders anymore. Borders is the second-largest bookstore chain in the U.S. behind Barnes & Noble. Unfortunately for these companies, bookstore chains are going the way of the dinosaur with Amazon digitizing books and becoming the largest online seller of books in the United States. Borders is developing a Kobo e-reader to try and compete, but with e-book readers from Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble, Borders may be living on borrowed time.
How troubled is Borders? The company’s stock currently sells for under $2 dollars a share. Borders has to repay a $42.5 million dollar loan due on April 1. If Borders can raise this money, the bookstore chain still faces a $360 million dollar note payment due July 2011.
Perhaps the most damning sign was that the company’s CEO left to take a job at a supermarket chain. The company’s short-term hopes lie in getting creditors to refinance debts. The best hope for long-term survival is an acquisition by a larger bookstore chain like Barnes & Noble.
The strategy of simply stocking as much as possible (and more of what people are trending) and letting the customers come and buy it just isn’t working as well as it used to. That said, we’ve been talking about the imminent demise of Borders for at least two or three years now. So who knows. Maybe the world just isn’t ready yet for a post-big-box-store existence.