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The PJ Tatler

by
Sarah Hoyt

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July 23, 2011 - 6:41 pm

My friend and colleague Larry Correia gives Borders the eulogy it earned.

My opinion is Borders did it to themselves.

All of the business editorials I’ve seen are making it out that they were killed by the eBook revolution. Maybe that was a big loss on one revenue stream, but having visited fifty+ Borders over the last couple of years, and having been a businessman/salesman/entrepreneur myself, I can say they were sucking wind in their regular stores too.

Read the whole thing.  I will only add that my experience has been similar since my first book which the local borders ordered but could never find in its premisses.  No, not even when people tried to buy it.  Six months after release they said “It must have been in a closet, but now we’ve returned the copies.”  Which, of course, made me feel reassured they wanted to sell my books — or any books.

In addition to their stellar customer service, I’ve talked before about the sheer stupidity of ordering what will be stocked at any given store from a central three-state managing center (because centralized economies are an example to us all, of course.)

There was the added insanity of ordering books to the net according to the computer.  Following the law of Garbage In, Garbage Out, the people who obeyed the computer (Why does this make think of Martin Caidin’s The God Machine?) never took in account the data the computer didn’t stock “How much promotion and push was this book given?  What was the cover like?  How is this genre doing? or even… Was this book ever on the shelf, or did we leave it in the closet? ”

And then they used these “numbers” devoid of context as holy writ.  And now they complain about ebooks taking them under.

On top of that most Borders stores(though not all) didn’t stock Baen Books, having decided the publisher (who, btw, numbers among its authors an avowed communist) was “too right wing” to stock.

Feh.  I agree with Larry, whose post you should definitely read.  I feel for the newly unemployed employees, particularly the good ones.  (There were a few.)  I hope they find work soon.  But as for the chain, good ridance.  Borders wasn’t pushed.  It committed suicide.

Sarah Hoyt lives in Colorado with her husband, two sons and too many cats. She has published Darkship Thieves and 16 other novels, and over 100 short stories. Writing non-fiction is a new, daunting endeavor. For more on Sarah and samples of her writing, look around at Sarah A. Hoyt.com or check out her writing and life blog at According to Hoyt.com.
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