Borders days were numbered long ago (Shelf Awareness translates the handwriting on the wall)

Mene, Mene, Tekel u-Pharsin: "God has numbered your days. You have been weighed and found wanting. Your kingdom is divided, given to the Medes and Persians." The handwriting on the wall at Borders was looking similarly ominous long before recent rumors (and head slapping) about their imminent bankruptcy. Today Shelf Awareness examines the last 20 years of Borders corporate culture and ponders how this giant freight train went off the rails...
The purchase of Borders by Kmart in 1992 was not so bad in and of itself, but Kmart's decision to merge Borders with Waldenbooks, which Kmart had bought in 1984, was disastrous. From computers to company culture to focuses on different types of readers, Borders and Walden were a bad fit, and hobbled each other. ...For many years, Borders, which was spun off by Kmart and went public in 1995, had several CEOs from outside the business--for some reason, two came from food retailing, notably Hickory Farms and Jewel-Osco, and hired many other top executives from outside the book business. While having some people from nonbook industries could provide fresh air and helpful new perspectives, this tendency seemed to have a corrosive effect on a company that in its early years was famous for its knowledgeable booksellers and solid, deep selection. One minor measure: it's been years since anyone has mentioned the once-legendary book quiz given to prospective Borders staffers. Likely most of the people running the company in the past few years wouldn't pass it.
Read the rest of the sad story on Shelf Awareness. What I find comforting: this article illustrates that the downfall of Borders isn't about the death of books; it's about a company that was badly run.


Suzan Harden said…
It's a shame. At one time, Waldenbooks was the best bookstore.

Okay, this is scary. My Word Ver is 'scifi.'

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