What Borders Did Wrong

When Borders opened in my town in high school, it changed the face of the town. suddenly, there was a place where I could buy more books than what they'd have at, say, the book section of Wal-Mart. And there was a place for people like me to hang out, talk to other people who liked books, hear singer-songwriters, and have some coffee. It was my downtown.

What Borders did wrong is the same stuff that countless companies do. They cut expenses to make next quarter look better - they stopped carrying such a wide selection and cut back, a bit at a time, on in-store entertainment and social options. Books were replaced with journals. They ignored the internet for a very long time.

These cuts undoubtedly made next quarter look better over and over. But after several years of these cuts, you look around and realize that you don't have much of a company anymore. You're just another b-rate company with stores too large to hold what little you have inside. That's what happened to Borders, and that's why they announced that they're liquidating.

Bye bye, Borders. You barely carried my books. I hoped you'd hold out until I published my first indie ebook, so the dedication would be: "To all the chain stores who skipped my last book with Random House. Have fun going out of business, and I'll see you in hell."

No official plans for an indie novel on my part yet, but, honestly, any YA author who isn't thinking of that sort of thing just isn't looking to the future. Certainly I've got more manuscripts than the publishers will want to put out. Maybe that third Leon book (the infamous "Satanic YA novel") will see the light of day yet...

Here's my previous article on Borders


Anonymous said...

I understand you're upset about Borders not carrying many of your titles, but the company going out of business is nothing to be happy about. A lot of people are losing their jobs because of this. I'm one of them. I actually discovered you as an author via a book of yours that came into my store. It makes me sad someone I respected as a writer can be so cavalier about good people losing their jobs.

Adam Selzer said...

I'm by no means happy about it - but I'm also not surprised. It's the natural end to the years of bad management on the upper end of the company. Their recent plans for re-organizing looked like the work of business school bozos who had never set foot in a book store.

What bugs me most is that the people who are actually responsible will get none of the blame and simply go on to fine jobs wrecking other companies instead.

Adam's New Book: Sept 2013