Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Troubled Borders

Almost a year ago on the 26th November last year, Woolworths went into administration

Today there is more potentially sad news for the High Street, today there is the first sign that Borders, the bookseller, is faltering. Their website has stopped taking new orders and there are rumours that they do not have enough money to make it through to Christmas.

Borders of course suffers doubly, they are dwarfed as far as High Street bookselling goes by Waterstones' 303 stores to 45. Online they are obviously small fry compared to Waterstones. Of course unlike MFI that also disappeared around the time of Woolworths last year there is no disparity in product. The books that they sell are identical in every way to those of Waterstones or Amazon or any other bookseller of course. What may be their undoing in the matter of economies of scale. They are a smaller purchaser, and therefore seller of the same items and therefore may not be able to get the same deals to undercut in price the other stores.

Of course my most accessible Borders store is in Glasgow, without a car Fort Kinnaird in Edinburgh is bit of a trek, especially when there are three Waterstones either on or close to Princes Street, even Blackstones isn't that difficult to get to from the city centre. Plus I also have another Waterstones in Livingston and one at the Gyle close to where I work. So yes there is a case of near Tesco-like saturation of the local market of the biggest bookseller in the UK.

It may well be a sad day for Borders, and I shall miss being able to browse their shelves when I do get a chance, as every so often I do find something different there, like you do when you visit somewhere that is laid out different from your normal shopping location style.

1 comment:

  1. That's sad news Stephen. Borders in Dundee is in a superb location - a purpose built mini shopping centre with ample parking outside. Therefore it is a place I meet friends, relax from shopping and like you, am able to browse in peace.

    I'll be in Dundee later this week so will possibly find out the situation.

    But you're right, they are dwarfed by the 'big boys'.