Borders Security

Whilst many of us love the independent bookshops, the sad reality is that most people’s book buying experience is limited to the discount department stores or big bookstore chains. In many parts of Australia, that pretty much means Dymocks, Borders and Angus and Robertson, having lost Collins a while ago. Now, of course, Borders in Australia in up for sale, as its US parent continues to bleed red ink. Confirmation in a Reuters story yesterday that Angus and Robertson is one of the bidders for Borders’ 24 Oz outlets. Given recent history, it’s one that booklovers probably want to keep an eye on. The fact that private equity firms (like the one that controls A and R) are interested in bookshops merely confirms the feeling that, for many, the book industry is nothing more or less than a business, regardless of what some of us might hope for.

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2 comments so far

  1. Chris Oliver on

    Isn’t mourning the demise of independent shops a bit like mourning the demise of the book as object (which The Book is Dead. Long Live the Book doesn’t, because it sees a bright digital future of ebooks which fulfil the basic function of books much more efficiently and effectively)? The monopolies and mergers commission documentation provided by Waterstone’s and Ottakars in the UK (available online), when the former took over the latter, make interesting reading. Unsurprisingly they say range is a function of space (so, better a big shop than a small one if you’re democratic in nature). Most of us might love Gleebooks, but I’m not aware of another independent bookshop which lives up to their serious standard. I love Ariel too, but that has to do with the individual aesthetic of their Oxford Street shop rather than the range of books they stock, which is limited compared to Kinokuniya.

  2. shermanfyoung on

    Chris, touché all round. The best range of books is already found online – albeit at the cost of shipping from wherever… The independent book/record/video store is a big part of my generation’s media experience (think High Fidelity etc), so when change happens, there will be mourning.


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