Tuesday, February 15, 2011

'Son, There Used To Be Stores That Sold Nothing But Books...'

Looks like the writing is on the wall for Border's bookstores. The Wall Street Journal reports that the 674-store chain is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week. Rival Barnes & Noble is also struggling.

What a decade of changing technology. First, record stores vanished one by one as digital downloads became the status quo, with Tower, HMV and Virgin Records shuttering their doors, until even New York City was left without a record retailer.

Next came Blockbuster, which didn't stand a chance against newer, simpler technologies like Netflix, Redbox and on-demand.

And now the iPad, Kindle and other E-Readers have eradicated good old-fashioned brick-and-mortar retailers of paper with words printed on it. Books, they were called. Between 2007 and 2009, E-sales grew 366%, according to the Assn. of American Publishers, as hardback book titles dropped 7%.

It's a world dominated by Amazon and Apple out there. And that may not be such a good thing.