There is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is that Borders has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The good news is that Borders has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy!
Let's start with the bad. Borders Group Inc, the second largest bookstore chain in the nation, has gone belly up. The company is slated to close 30% of its 508 stores with possibly more closings down the road. Borders is hopeful that the Chapter 11 protection will allow them to restructure and emerge a stronger and more viable bookseller.
But there's good news, too!
Is there anything more charming than a local bookstore? Anything more pleasant than the families who own them and the obligatory cat warming itself in the window display? Not that I can think of. There are so many amazing small-business bookstores here in NYC, as I'm sure there are where you live. Perhaps the Borders bankruptcy is good news for these folks.
That is, assuming people still want to buy books. (If the answer is 'no,' that could be more bad news right there.) I think without Borders, the mom and pop stores will appeal to a new customer who before just went to the biggest, assuming it was the best.
I don't think it's a sign of a decline in book sales overall, it's just evidence that without hometown charm and a digital component (Barnes and Noble has the Nook and Amazon has the Kindle), a bookstore can't survive. You can make it without one or the other, but apparently you can't lack both.
It's unfortunate that a major company has to close some of its doors and lay off thousands of employees, but it's a good thing that local bookstores and business-owners may once again share a spot in the shelf.
What's your opinion on the Borders bankruptcy?
Photo via Ian Wilson/Flickr