Looks like traditional bookstore customers will be switching over to more electronic ways to obtain books.
Borders Bookstore, a 40-year old company, recently filed for bankruptcy and has plans to close 200 of its 642 locations. With e-reading expanding exponentially, Borders failed to move forward with technology and adapt to the new ways of reading. While Barnes & Noble created the Nook and Amazon’s Kindle, Borders failed to develop a signature e-reader.
Borders went into panic mode during the holiday season when they realized they simply didn’t have the funds to pay publishers. After failed attempts to offer them I.O.U.’s, publishers realized they would lose millions.
Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and other independent bookstores aren’t complaining about Border’s financial problems. In fact, they are predicted to benefit.
However, in this new technological age, is it just a matter of time before bookstores become a thing of the past? The question is raised, is there hope for small bookstores in a digital age?
Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books in Hudson Valley town, is confident she will be selling books for the next 50 years. Oblong Books is even expanding their store. Herman credits her business’ success to the company’s willingness to adapt to the digital age. She partnered with the Google eBook-store allowing visitors to her website to purchase e-books.
Bookstores are going to have to acclimate to the new ways in which readers are accessing books whether it be in the store, online or through an e-book. Herman adds the most important thing is to give my customers a choice.
Electronic alternatives lack the ability to build strong communities and provide a personalized experience. The fate of both large and small bookstores lies in the quality of their staff.
“As the online shopping experience affords readers a wealth of information, the store experience needs to be special,” says Carol Fitzgerald, founder of BookReporter.com. “There is something about speaking directly to someone who not only knows how to ring a register, but knows books and who can make you want to buy a book —now.”