Borders is bankrupt

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bcomet
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Re: Borders is bankrupt

Post by bcomet » February 16th, 2011, 2:22 pm

I suppose MacDonald's is exotic in London. A little bit of "home" far away. And MacDonald's is at least one company that hasn't completely overgrown its balance like so many supersized companies that then collapse on themselves (and all their employees) when they can't sustain their size.

But at least, speaking for myself then, I don't want just predictable and/or generic and, if I'm in that kind of mood, call it what it is: an American fastfood hamburger. But, Denny's Italia-plate? Like that could ever even hope to replicate Italian cuisine? What's next? Walmart sweet potato pie?

Mass market businesses seem to offer a way that I am suspicious of. A way of it being a mighty win at the top and a mighty lose along the way down for others. But a lot of people don't want to think about children in sweat shops. And manufacturers don't double stitch so that you will have to replace those clothes after so many wash and wears.

But I am a creating type. What do I know?

I love unique and original and regional.
What I would have missed in people as well as food, in Italy, if I had not had unique trattorias to discover up every mountain or village road.

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Re: Borders is bankrupt

Post by Sommer Leigh » February 16th, 2011, 3:05 pm

I think I might be the only person here who is really, really sad about Borders.

See, I worked at Barnes & Noble in college. I hate them. My skin starts crawling the moment I step into one now. The sales tactics that were pushed on us to sell their ridiculously rewards card (which was so not worth the money, btw) made me sick and they employed the same spy tactics to make sure we were doing it. It sucked.

But that's not the reason why I'm sad about Borders. It's because I buy most of my books online, but when I shop in a store I shop at the Borders near my house. I like the people who work there. They know me, they spend a lot of time talking with customers, and there are a handful of YA enthusiast employees who help customers browsing in the YA section by recommending and really talking about books they've obviously read. I like employees who engage with customers. It was only this one Borders, the others in my city weren't nearly as great. I don't want to see my store go away.
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Re: Borders is bankrupt

Post by sierramcconnell » February 16th, 2011, 3:21 pm

It's like that in small bookstores and small stores of any type you go to frequently. It was like that in my Waldens back home and here, at the Sam Goodys back home, at the antique stores, at the eateries I frequent...

People get to know you no matter where you go if the shop is small and you are unique enough to make yourself stand out. They know me at the BN coffee shop, too.

It hasn't much to do with it being Borders. It's just that it was a tiny store. I miss my girls, too. But they're gone because their supervisors decided to sell overpriced crap that's available everywhere else.
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Re: Borders is bankrupt

Post by Margo » February 16th, 2011, 3:32 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:It hasn't much to do with it being Borders. It's just that it was a tiny store.
Uh, to be fair, I've gone into small stores that turned out to be elitist niches of over-the-top snobbery where the clerks wouldn't even speak to someone who wasn't their obvious target market. And I mean indie mom-n-pop shops as well as small chains. The most offended I have EVER been was when a mom-n-pop coffee shop refused to serve a gay couple who were holding hands. The shop suffered horrid publicity over that, apologized, and a year later hit the news again for refusing to serve a group of non-Christians who were sitting at a small table talking religion while drinking their coffee.

Mom-n-pop can be some jerky people too. And I don't mean that in a Futurama way (mummy jerky, anyone?).

I think the problem is we are trying to take humans out of the argument. Eeebil corporation. Saintly indie. Lazy faceless stereotype employees. There are truths and lies in all of it (and, btw, it wouldn't fly in our novels, with MG possibly the exception).
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Re: Borders is bankrupt

Post by Margo » February 16th, 2011, 3:37 pm

As writers, I think we're going to have trouble with our books if we insist on thinking in nothing but demonizing-canonizing terms. It's a pitfall that agents and editors frequently refer to as Mwhahaha Evil. And it leads to Mary Sue characters to play off the mwhahaha evil.
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Re: Borders is bankrupt

Post by sierramcconnell » February 16th, 2011, 3:46 pm

Also as writers we need to see that what happened is this...

The Real World!

[GASP]

/sarcasm

It's not the evil book world. It's not anything to do with being writers. Heck, it's nothing to do with Borders.

It was a bunch of idiots in suits. Who thought, "Hey, you know what? Let's try to make some money. Screw everyone else. We're going to borrow until we're in the red. We're doing okay."

OMG FAIL.

"Uhm...we're not doing so good. Let's borrow more! Let's lay these nameless-faceless people off. They don't matter."

OMG MORE FAIL.

"...so...we're still not doing so good. Let's stop paying our bills. That includes paychecks and publishers. And we can do that because we are covered by this bankruptcy clause and fancy fine suits. We'll be paid, but these guys won't."

OMG...You guessed it...FAIL MOAR.

That's how it works in a nutshell. It was a bunch of business school idiots looking to make bank. No evil guys. Just a bunch of dorks. Yes. Like that guy that used to sit next to you in math class and try to copy your notes. Yeah, he couldn't do it then, either.

Ever had a class in bookeeping? They don't teach you how to keep books, they teach you how to HIDE MONEY. And they get so offended when you bring that up because its so true. "Accounting". LOL.
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Re: Borders is bankrupt

Post by Margo » February 16th, 2011, 3:47 pm

There's also an interesting post on this at the Pimp My Novel Blog that predicts that, while Borders remains in Chapter 11 and tried to pull itself out, it is likely to be even more reluctant to invest in midlist titles and play it safe by giving more space to bestsellers. Not good news for the average writer. The bestsellers people love to demonize get a few more weeks/months of greatly expanded shelf space, midlisters stay in the warehouse.
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Re: Borders is bankrupt

Post by Sommer Leigh » February 16th, 2011, 4:01 pm

Margo wrote: The most offended I have EVER been was when a mom-n-pop coffee shop refused to serve a gay couple who were holding hands. The shop suffered horrid publicity over that, apologized, and a year later hit the news again for refusing to serve a group of non-Christians who were sitting at a small table talking religion while drinking their coffee.

I think the problem is we are trying to take humans out of the argument. Eeebil corporation. Saintly indie. Lazy faceless stereotype employees. There are truths and lies in all of it (and, btw, it wouldn't fly in our novels, with MG possibly the exception).
The only indie book store left in Omaha has been around forever and it is also the only time I've ever been descriminated against for my age. The people who shop there are mostly older readers, I would say 45+, and on two occasions I've gotten into arguments with the women who work there because they were pointedly ignoring my husband and I when we clealry had books to purchase because they were picking and choosing "regulars" out of the line to help first. We were told once that this particular book store really wasn't a place for kids like us. Kids!! I was 29 and my husband was 27. Granted, we look young for our age, but our money was worth the same as their regulars. I've only gone back there one other time for a David Sedaris reading, otherwise I spend my money at places that don't suck.

This has nothing to do with book shops specifically, but in the whole big corporation vs. indie business owners there are a lot of business practices I don't understand and am not educated enough to judge. What I do know is how I am treated as a customer at the point of sale and this has a huge impact on how I feel about the business. Customer service is HUGE for me. Customer Service is the only reason I still shop with Amazon as much as I do.
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Re: Borders is bankrupt

Post by bcomet » February 16th, 2011, 4:09 pm

margo wrote: I think the problem is we are trying to take humans out of the argument.
yes

and
sierramcconnell wrote: It was a bunch of idiots in suits. Who thought, "Hey, you know what? Let's try to make some money. Screw everyone else.
or, if not that last sentence, something like: "Why should they be concerned with anyone else?"

The sad truth is there is good and bad. Win-Win Capitalism is going to be a new game. Some progressive companies are learning how to play it. Small businesses, well they might actually care more when, after all in a small world (and business): they might be either related to their employees or know them and their families.

But when you care, you may make less money for yourself. I believe money can still be made (I hope so anyway) while realizing that the people on your team are people with real lives and need to be taken care of too.

Mass marketing gets wonderful things into people's hands like music and books, so it has its good points too.

It's the greed and the squeeze that's got to get a conscience.

(edited twice to correct quote and clarify)
Last edited by bcomet on February 16th, 2011, 4:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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sierramcconnell
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Re: Borders is bankrupt

Post by sierramcconnell » February 16th, 2011, 4:21 pm

bcomet wrote:
sierramcconnell wrote: I think the problem is we are trying to take humans out of the argument.
First off, I didn't say this, Margo, I believe, did.
bcomet wrote:But when you care, you will make less money for yourself.
Yes and no. Because you can sell more if you build rapport. :3
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Re: Borders is bankrupt

Post by authorgirl1485 » April 16th, 2011, 6:22 pm

It was unfortunate that they went bankrupt. I had planned to do some book signings and had to cancel because of it.
Failure teaches success.

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