Borders Bankruptcy In 5… 4… 3…
Borders launches e-bookstore
Borders urgently needs to win a piece of the e-books business: sales at its namesake superstores open at least a year and on its website fell 11.4 percent during the first quarter, the latest decline in a long streak.
But Mike Edwards, president of Borders Inc, the company’s main operating business, said Borders was not at a disadvantage.
"We’ll take market share just by turning it on," Edwards told Reuters in an interview last week.
Edwards said that Borders, the No. 2 U.S. bookstore chain by sales after, had data and e-mail addresses for the 38 million customers in its loyalty program and has about 700 stores at which it can promote its virtual bookstore, which he said will help it quickly catch up.
Borders said its e-bookstore will offer 1.5 million titles, including free books. Amazon says it offers 620,000 books as well as 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright titles, and Barnes & Noble says it offers 1 million titles.
"A lot of people have said, ‘You’re kind of late to the game,’ and I’m saying, ‘the game actually just started’."
Wow. Where do I begin?
So, Borders thinks that just by “buidling it, they will come”?
We’ll take market share just by turning it on.
First, Borders’ eBooks will be priced the same as everywhere else, thanks to the disastrous Agency Model of pricing that print publishing is clinging to as a desperate life preserver. There is no advantage here for Borders.
Second, Borders is entering a market already near saturation. There’s the Sony Reader, the Kindle, the Barnes & Noble Nook, and more. Does Borders expect any converts from those devices to its low-end Kobo Reader? And let’s not forget the iPad! If anything, the iPad managed to actually expand the market for eBooks — as the iPhone did before it. The Kobo Reader is unlikely to do that. It’s not wireless. It’s low-end. People will have to put up with its funky button UI and the disaster of navigating through the brutality of Adobe Digital Editions.
Third, does Borders know how many of those people on its mailing list already have an eBook device — or even want an eBook device?
Fourth, this will be the second eBookstore Borders has had. The first was a gateway to the Sony eBookstore. Borders was an early outlet for the Sony Reader. You remember seeing all those big, inescapable signs at every Borders, telling you about the Sony Reader and the Borders eBookstore, right? No, you don’t. Because Borders marketing for all of that was atrocious, virtually invisible. If they failed once, they will fail again. And according to this account, are already in early FAIL mode.
Fifth, what kind of a business leader makes such a ridiculous statement as the one he did?
Sixth, how many of those eBooks are going to be worthless Google ePubs? New eBook readers encountering those will throw up their hands in disgust and wonder what the hell they’ve wasted their money on.
But until then, a new battle is brewing: what to stock shelves with to replace book sales that go online. Borders is looking at what products would be compatible with books and the possibilities include kids products, consumer electronics and apparel.
Apparel? They expect someone to go to a bookstore to buy a dress or jeans? Are they insane? I remember the day I walked into CompUSA and found it filled with non-pertinent items, like huge flatscreen TVs. I knew that marked the beginning of their end — and I was right. The minute Borders starts putting irrelevant goods in its stores, we’ll know its end is inevitable.