Friday, November 06, 2009

Another Troubling Sign for Bookstores

Here is another sad turn of events. Borders will be closing 200 Waldenbooks stores, and laying off 1500 staff. Tough times, but I foresee an even bigger shakeup of the traditional book industry. Their official press release can be read here. I remember Waldenbooks, a favourite haunt for me when I visit malls in the US. It remains one of my popular places to browse and to wait there while my wife does her shopping.
[Photo Credit:]

I think the following trends are worth noticing.
  • Rise of the digital media, ebooks, Kindle and social networking media, that compete on convenience;
  • Rise of the online stores like and large retailers that compete on cost;
  • Rise of a generation who are not too concerned about paperbacks or printed materials. Some may say books themselves are not environmentally friendly. Why not go paperless? 
  • Rise of a new 'normal.' People used to be able to read attentively a book without being distracted. Hence lesser people are buying books. Nowadays, more people are scattering their attention via multi-tasking activities. Jack of all trades, but master of none?
Sigh. What will happen when I visit the mall next time? A mall that has no bookstores? Boring.


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