As stores die, so does book culture

Boston Globe – “THE LIQUIDATION of Borders Books, announced last week, is like the death of an unlikely friend – unlikely because Borders was itself implicated in the slow-motion degradation of the culture of the book. The story began in 1971, when brothers Tom and Louis Borders, students at the University of Michigan, established a book shop in Ann Arbor. They were among the first to grasp the potential of digital technology, inventing software that revolutionized how inventories were tracked. Borders became a book-selling powerhouse. The company proved insufficiently nimble, though, when online ordering – via Amazon or the Barnes & Noble website – transformed the point of sale, and digital files – via Kindle, Nook, or iPad – replaced paper publication entirely. The technology that made Borders boom ultimately killed it.”

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