In response to the news on Wednesday, February 16, that Borders Group Inc. had filed for Chapter 11 protection and will close about 30 percent of its stores nationwide in the coming weeks, the American Booksellers Association issued the following statement:
Though Borders is not a member of the American Booksellers Association, we are always saddened when any bookstore closes. The industry – whether independent bookstores, publishers, or readers – does not benefit from the diminishment of places to browse, discover, and buy books.
However, despite the doom and gloom expressed by some about the future of full-service bricks-and-mortar bookstores – and, while we don’t underestimate the challenges that lie ahead – ABA believes that the indie bookstore model is well positioned for the future.
ABA membership numbers have stabilized; the vast majority of ABA members are coming off the best holiday season they have had in years; and, we’ve partnered with Google to allow our members to offer e-books through their websites.
As book buyers and readers are facing a skyrocketing number of books vying for their attention – with more and more demands on their time – our members’ customers are telling us that, now more than ever, they appreciate the care independent stores take in choosing the titles to stock, and that the curated selection in our stores can’t be found elsewhere.
In addition, more and more consumers appreciate the fact that our members are locally owned and have long-standing and close ties to their communities. They understand that by shopping in an independent store they are making sure that far more of their spending dollars recirculate back into the community. Shopping locally supports the small businesses that are creating jobs, directly fuels local growth, and helps preserve the special things that make each American community unique.
Looking ahead, we know that indie stores will have to continue to work hard and stay nimble and innovative. No matter what may appear in the headlines today, and understanding that the circumstances leading to the current situation facing Borders is very different than those of independents, we believe that our members will continue to offer their customers a unique shopping experience they can’t find anywhere else.
Media questions should be addressed to ABA Membership and Marketing Officer Meg Smith.