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Book Company Bankruptcy

In February Borders went bankrupt [1], since then they have been in the slow process of closing down. Now Borders is trying to clear the last of their stock and offering 80% discounts off the marked price.

I bought a book by Stephen Baxter and one by Peter F. Hamilton and those appeared to be the last two books worth buying (IMHO) on the almost empty sci-fi shelves, the books were a little tattered but at 80% discount I’m not complaining.

It’s been almost four years since I last bought books, and I still haven’t read all the free sci-fi stories and watched all the free sci-fi movies from the net which interest me [2]. So I’m not planning to buy many more books unless I see something better than a 50% discount.

Paul Wayper writes about the difficulty of buying ebooks [3]. It’s ironic that some people have claimed that ebooks were part of the cause of Borders financial troubles given that they really aren’t working well, not even for the most dedicated buyers. In related news Kobo (the company that runs the Borders ebook store) has assured customers that they won’t lose the books that they own [4]. There are very few situations in which a company needs to assure customers that they won’t lose property that they have paid for and received due to a corporate bankruptcy.

As further evidence that Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) is a bad thing, Apple have shut down the iFlow Reader [5] so that they can monopolise ebook sales on the iPhone and iPad. This is a good reason to avoid restricted platforms (such as anything from Apple) and encrypted content.

It seems to me that Cory Doctorow’s scheme for giving copies of his books to libraries is a more effective way of donating in return for a free ebook [6] (which is rather similar to the “buy one get one” scheme that they used to run for OLPC). Hopefully Charles Stross will end up doing something similar to make Paul Wayper happy.

2 comments to Book Company Bankruptcy

  • someone

    You should have made clear in the first sentence that it’s about Borders in Australia only :-)

    Reading this on debian planet I almost fell off my chair, I thought I missed the news.

  • etbe

    I think that in Australia book companies generally buy books outright so they have to sell them no matter how low the price. While in the US they treat paperback books the same way as magazines and return the cover for full credit if they don’t sell. Therefore a US book seller that goes under will just return the covers and send the books to paper recycling.