Borders goes bankrupt: The end of the bookstore?

The chain that brought mega bookstores to malls across America will reportedly file for bankruptcy this week. Can other bookstores survive?

After filing for bankruptcy, Borders will likely close one third of its 674 stores, with some bloggers wondering if bookstores as a whole will follow suit.
(Image credit: CC BY: Mark Hilary)

Borders is expected to file for bankruptcy this week, according to The Wall Street Journal, and will likely be forced to close one third of its 674 stores. Borders pioneered the kind of large, supermarket-style bookstores that popped up across the U.S. during the '90s, but it failed to change its business model to adapt to the online and e-book markets. Borders' troubles have analysts wondering about the future of the brick-and-mortar bookstore. Is this the beginning of the end? (Watch a report about Borders' bankruptcy)

Yes, and we should be worried: What a "sad day" for our children, says an editorial in Britain's Daily Express. As our digital world makes the traditional bookstore an antique, we ought to be wary of a culture "in which the younger generation has no real access to the written word." Can we really be sure our children's literacy skills won't be affected by this?

"Unhappy ending for books"

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It is the end of mega bookstores, not books: The "tailspin" of Borders proves that big, impersonal bookstores just aren't needed anymore, says Alexia Tsotsis at TechCrunch. But Barnes and Noble is still doing fine, thanks to its decision to diversify into e-books with the Nook e-reader. Borders may be toast, but books aren't.

"The internet scores its second victory of the day, Borders near bankruptcy"

This could even help bookstores: When Borders opened, pundits forecast the death of the independent bookseller, says the Retail Gazette. But now, ironically, "it may be smaller independent outlets that are best equipped for the challenges ahead." Borders and other superstores had to spend money on "an extensive amount of space" to offer a wide selection of books, while specialists can survive with much lower overheads.

"Borders demise signals end for chain bookstores"

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