In sad news for those still dedicated to paper books, Borders is being forced to liquidate all 600 of its stores. But while some locations might be bought up by fellow book giant Barnes & Noble, in a strange twist, the liquidation might also provide opportunity for independent booksellers.
There are at least 400 former locations that could be converted into different bookstores, and a few Waldenbooks (owned by Borders) locations in New England have, in fact, been taken over by indie bookshops. That said, most Borders outposts are just too big for mom-and-pop style operations, especially since those business generally have way less capital to back them up. (And if this liquidation has demonstrated anything, it’s that books don’t offer the widest profit margins).
Instead, the closings might pave the way for indie sellers to set up shop nearby old Borders, if in more appropriately-sized quarters. A report from Verso Advertising pointed out that half of 200 Borders superstores are over five miles away from their nearest independent counterparts — which means there might actually be markets for bookstores, albeit smaller ones, in close proximity to those old Borders. While we mourn the chain’s passing, we can’t help but hope some enterprising book-lovers get wind of this theory — if physical bookshops still have a shot, we’d love to see them open new doors.