A couple updates to the recent collapse of Borders (as I mentioned previously). First, there is one small bright spot thus far — it looks like Books-A-Million is interested in acquiring around 30 of the 399 Borders locations. If that deal goes through, it would save somewhere on the order of 10% of the jobs expected to be lost with Borders’ closure, so that would indeed be good news for those employees and the communities those locations serve. Note though that Books-A-Million, like Barnes & Noble, is not doing all that well this past year (the article linked above provides details), but hey, any port in a storm I guess.
And second, the obvious question is, so what happens now to book retail? What can we say about the market as a whole? Well, it’s not a particularly rosy picture. The physical book market is expected to fall 11% this year, with a 21% decline since 2008. The eBook market is compensating for some, but not all, of this decline, and the eBook market is expected to more than double this year, with 111% growth expected. That’s huge, and we certainly can’t ignore it, but as the UK case study shows us, when physical bookstores go away, customers don’t automatically just buy books elsewhere. In a significant number of cases, folks use their disposable income for other non-book purchases altogether. That’s bad for all of us, as it means that Borders’ closure may have a ripple effect on the industry as a whole.