So a week ago, I blogged about the future of Borders and how its prospects looked bleak. There was speculation that Borders might soon go into bankruptcy. Well, now it looks like Borders will likely begin bankruptcy proceedings as soon as early next week, with an eye to closing a third of its 674 Borders and Waldenbooks stores and laying off thousands of workers. One analyst quoted in that linked article speculates that “I think that there will be a 50% reduction in bricks-and-mortar shelf space for books within five years, and 90% within 10 years,” says Mike Shatzkin, chief executive of Idea Logical Co., a New York consulting firm. “Book stores are going away.”
That sounds a little bleak to me, but then again, I’m a book guy, so maybe I’m just trying to see it more positively here. Heck, maybe this will even ease a little of the pressure on Barnes and Noble in the long-run, allowing it to ease the pressure a bit. Amazon will certainly profit from this. And who knows, maybe the fact that many communities will have fewer brick and mortar stores from whom to buy books will hasten the rise of ebooks.
It’s all just speculation at this point, but I think it’s safe to say that the American book retail industry is in for “interesting times,” in the Chinese curse sense.