Sunday, November 29, 2009

Beyond Borders

Yesterday, Sid and I happily went scavenging through the Borders book shop outlet in Angel. The chain bookstore went into liquidation last week, and we were hoping to capitalise on its bad luck.

No, Borders doesn’t have my sympathies. None at all! Borders would like you to believe that did this to it. But I wonder if it was Amazon that was responsible for its poorly informed staff, boring recommendations, and topsy-turvy book management system.

A few months ago, Sid walked into a Borders bookshop with a specific book in mind. It wasn’t just a vague idea, he didn’t just have the subject in mind – it was a specific book by a specific author that he was after. He couldn’t find it in the supposed designated area, so walked up to the staff. The staff took him back to the designated area, and started looking around in confusion – obviously, it wasn’t there. So he looked up the computer systems, stocks hadn’t run out. The book was there in store, just that the shop assistant had no idea where it could be. Sid left in disgust and bought the book on Amazon.

The problem is that Borders tried to attract buyers with coffee, toys, CDs and beautiful pictures. So it got coffee drinkers, toy buyers, CD hunters and picture gazers – it didn’t get in book lovers.

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