Jesse Jackson, Jr. is blaming the iPad for forcing Borders to close stores. Let us be clear, as a former Border’s shopper, I think a great deal of issues Borders is experiencing have to do with their having missed out on the electronic book revolution. Two of the biggest authors in the news, John Locke and Amanda Hocking have no titles available at Borders. The reason is that their books are primarily sold in electronic form. And while Borders sells electronic book readers, Locke and Hocking only publish for the Nook and Kindle.
I have been thinking about buying a particular computer book, and it isn’t any cheaper in electronic form rather than paper. Borders web site had several books by the author in question, just not the latest one. Even if they had it, I wouldn’t have bought it from them, because the books I saw were priced at full retail. I presume if I had a Borders discount card, I could get a discount, but I’m not going to bother signing up for a discount card to shop on the Internet.
Since we moved two years ago, the closest Borders store is no longer more convenient than the closest Barnes and Noble store. Barnes and Noble seems to at least be trying to compete with Amazon in both Internet sales and electronic books. Sadly, it seems Borders has missed that change, and this miss was pretty obvious, even without the iPad.
The reason Borders is gone, and I’m not the first to predict their demise is almost everybody who buys books buys them somewhere else. The general public buys at WalMart or Sam’s Club, the voracious readers buy from Amazon or Barnes and Noble over the Internet, whether paper or electronic. Anybody in the middle who doesn’t fit into either group, was probably closer to a Barnes and Noble store before the closings. After the closings, they’re almost certainly closer to a Barnes and Noble.
Hat tip to Instapundit for linking to the story.