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For Want Of An e-Reader, Borders Goes Away

Borders president Mike Edwards today blamed the e-reader for the demise of his 399-store chain.

This is the first time in my recollection that an entire chain has been wiped out by the introduction and quick adoption of a single product — or at least the first time the company leader was willing to admit to the fact.

Too bad Edward’s hindsight is so much sharper than his foresight or else Borders might still be flourishing.

Border’s officially announced its plan to liquidate on July 19. The Great Recession certainly did not help Borders, but others managed to do quite well in this area despite the implosion of the global economy.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple led the e-reader revolution by developing in-house an e-reader platform, or in Apple’s case building in the ability to buy and read e-books on the iPad and iPhone. Borders, however, was content to fill its e-reader gap by making a few alliances with third-party e-book vendors, such as Sony and Kobo.

While I cannot claim to be a visionary, I find it hard to explain that a major bookseller did not have someone on the payroll who thought that e-readers would really take off.

If nothing else as a retailer, when Apple and Amazon decide something is important enough to invest in, then I am going to give the idea one heck of a hard look.