Deadline Detroit | Ten years after Borders passed away, indie bookstores in the Detroit area are showing resilience

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As business landscapes change, small players can outlast giants by cultivating niches, loyalty, and skill. That reality is evident a decade after the recent Borders Group, Inc. sales.


Pages Bookshop Authoring Event on September 21st at the Grand River Avenue Store in Northwest Detroit. (Photo: Facebook)

The Michigan-based retailer, which has been out of business since September 2011, was acquired by Kmart Corp. in 1992. bought another faded mark. Crain’s blogger Amy Elliott Bragg recalled Saturday “the Ann Arbor-born bookstore chain loved by many of my nerdy suburban teenagers.”

In its early days, Borders, which was founded in 1971, was known for its state-of-the-art inventory management system, but autopsies of the company’s failures diagnosed its overinvestment in physical media like CDs and DVDs and underinvestment in e-commerce (which the company actually did at Amazon at times) outsourced). …

While Barnes & Noble may be just a shadow of its former great bookstore fame, a 2011 prediction by Crain – that the end of Borders could mark the start of a thriving indie bookstore scene – seems correct if local stores Book Beat, Source Booksellers, Pages Bookshop, Literati Bookstore, Detroit Book City, 27th Letter Books, and Book Suey are every measure.


Cary Loren: “Bookstores are not the kind of company that does bulk merchandising.” (Photo: Facebook / Sue Rynski)

Here’s what a brave survivor put it 10 years ago in this forward-looking article:

Cary Loren owns The Book Beat in Oak Park, which has been in operation for 30 years. He controlled 3,500 square feet – compared to the 25,000 square feet normally used by Borders – he said small bookstores might be the right recipe.

“I was here before the big box craze started and I’m still here,” he said. “What we’re learning here is that bookstores may not be the type of company that is good for mass merchandising.

“There’s a place for eBooks and Amazon, but there’s also a place where people can develop their opinions and learn about culture. A place where it’s all about intelligence. “

Hear hear! And remember: shop locally.


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