The news of Borders demise is not only troubling but also heartbreaking. Yes, businesses may come and businesses may go but Borders has a special place in my heart for many reasons. First off, Borders was my first real job where I rose up through the ranks to assistant manager and was with them for seven years. When the first Borders opened in Florida, I was eager to leave my crappy B.Dalton bookselling experiences behind. Borders offered something to me that allowed me to be truly happy where I was in charge of my own sections (scifi, fantasy, horror and graphic novels) and in turn, I gave the best customer service I knew how with their training of course. (Plus I met my future wife there as well.) B&N never had such focus on customer service and that’s why Borders able to set itself part from any other book store chain.
Back in 1993, Borders had only reached 47 stores nationwide. Having said this, I had the number one sales in graphic novels nationwide. With the sales on my side, I pushed to get an account opened up with Diamond Distributors to increase our collection and get the massive discounts for the staff on our favorite books and such. During the height of the Death of Superman, graphic novels were becoming increasing popular and for comic collectors like me who stopped collecting, this was a great way to catch up on many great storylines without having to buy the single issue floppies.
As with any relationship, I grew out of favor with Borders because of the glass ceiling I kept hitting. Don’t think for one moment that I am enjoying the demise of Borders; I don’t. I hated the culture of Borders had changed. The customer service experience that I was trained on where you walk to the section with the customer, take the book off the shelf and place it in customer’s hands is gone. (I do however still do this my with patrons at the library.) No longer were the stores given the time to do this when sales were the only thing that mattered. in hindsight, this is where Borders shot itself in the foot because the customer service experience is what drove sales. Our customers could have paid less for the same material over at B&N but they would not have the same shopping experience that will bring them back again and again. Carry this one step further, based on the amount of sales, the stores were allotted x amount of employees; with less sales fewer employees. Over time, staff size has gotten so bad to the point where a simple customer service desk could not be manned. The sign that said, “Customer Service Desk” should have added,”You Should Have Been Here When There Was Staff 10 Years Ago Customer Service Desk.” When these desks were abandoned and Borders decided to turned their computers to face the customer and that’s when I knew Borders was gone. When I read over the holidays the troubles Borders is going through, Borders was an empty rotting husk. I need to do a Klingon death scream for my old Borders, my old section and my favorite graphic novel section. “RRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!”
Submitted by Rich Johnston on January 12, 2011 – 5:43 pm (0) comments
Today, Diamond Book Distributors informed publishers that, as of last week, they had stopped supplying graphic novels/collections to the Borders bookstore chain.
They confirmed that this was as result of Borders suspending payments to suppliers, and this included Diamond.
I cannot emphasise the seriousness of this situation enough. Most comics publishers use Diamond Book Distribution, at least in part, to distribute collections or original graphic novels into bookstores. Borders are a very large national chain and right now, hold, or have sold, millions upon millions of dollars of just comic book publisher’s stock, unpaid for, sale or return.