Borders, the second largest bookstore chain in the US, was forced to close this week after failing to secure a buyer.

The company, which went bankrupt earlier this year, will now close all of its remaining 399 stores, with the loss of some 10,700 jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

This is sad news for readers, writers and publishers alike, as it means less access to books for readers and a smaller market for writers and publishers. Borders was a big name, and its closure will send shock waves across the book industry. If such a large book empire can close, can smaller chains and independent stores survive?

“Following the best efforts of all parties, we are saddened by this development,” said Mike Edwards, President of Borders. “We were all working hard toward a different outcome, but the head winds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, [ebook] revolution and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now.”

The mention of ebooks is important, as this is one factor that brick and mortar stores, and publishers and writers, will need to take into account for the short-term and long-term future. Recent reports from Amazon and others have shown that the ebook industry is booming, and a potential deal with Google later this year to make the largest digital library in the world could have a monumental impact on how we approach reading.

The impact of the closure on authors could be particularly bad, according to Michael Norris, an analyst at Simba Information, who told the Wall Street Journal: “The liquidation of Borders is an irreplaceable loss of a big part of the book-discovery ecosystem. Thousands of people whose job consisted of talking up and selling books will eventually being doing something else, and that’s bad for authors, agents, and everyone associated with the value chain in books.”

Categories: Publishing

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