01 August 2011

On the demise of Borders...

Truly it was Amazon.com what killed them.  They failed to adapt to the new paradigm and were as doomed as mainstreet v Wal Mart attempting to go head to head on price.

Brick and mortar v the internet has to be fought in terms of service.

The product will be the same and the physical store will charge more for it.  You have to offer the customer something to make that extra cost worth it.

Ever notice that gun shops stay alive in towns that also have a Wal Mart selling guns?  Gun shops sell expertise (founded or not) and customer care in addition to guns.  You ask the gun counter drone at Wal Mart, "Is x good for y?" and most of the time you won't get an answer.  The gun shop owner has an opinion and will happily share it with you.  Sometimes a BS answer is even better than a real one since the story is worth the time spent listening.

But I digress...

What the Borders failure means to me...

I hate Amazon for buying books.  Amazon is a poor place to go to get books on gun topics, for example.  Will the title, "Guns of the Navy SEALs" cover the Stoner?  The China Lake pump-action grenade launcher?  The cut down M60 they modified in the field?  The XM148?  Buying from Amazon, you don't know until you've paid your money and waited for shipping.

In a store I can see that I those items are not part of this book but will part of a future volume (that sadly didn't make print).  This is the future of books for me.  Spending more money on books that don't add to my knowledge due to repetition and likely more because fewer actual books are being printed.

A contributing factor to Border's demise though: people who treat the place like a library.  It was a business.  A business whose purpose was to sell books, not provide a space for people to read them in their entirety for free.  Every person who sat in the store reading and not buying has no room to complain that the place they weren't supporting financially is now gone.  And don't try to defend them by saying, "they bought other titles, so they were supporting them," in that case they are a bit less guilty.  Consider that the title they read instead of purchased could have been never stocked, saving the place the cost of having it there since they were never going to pay for it.

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