On 26th November 2009, Borders (UK) Ltd. went into administrative receivership. Although trading under the Borders name in the UK, they have not been a part of the US bookseller, Borders Inc. for several years.
They do however, have 45 stores in the UK, 36 trading as Borders, the remainder as Books Etc.
It's always sad to see another business close it's doors, but if I'm typical of a Borders customer, their road to failure doesn't surprise me.
Visiting the store pictured above, I first browse through the magazines, close to the main entrance. As I wander through the store, picking up, flicking through and putting back titles that interest me, sometimes I might read a couple of paragraphs, or even a chapter. I see other customers picking up books and magazines and heading to the far corner of the store where there is a Starbucks franchise. There they sit, for as long as they wish, ploughing through their reading, and all for the price of a cup of coffee.
Recent advances in technology have put these bricks and mortar retailers under further pressure, with the massive increase in the use of "smart-phones". Now it's possible to use the camera and inexpensive software in a mobile device to scan the barcode on a product (in this case a book), automatically search out the cheapest price online and purchase it, more quickly than actually walking with the real book to the store checkout.
How can businesses like this possibly survive?
I'll miss my coffee in Borders.