Thinking Outside the Covers of a Book: The Rise and the Fall of Amazon vs. Borders in the Online World

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Thinking outside of the box and the covers of a book: The rise and the fall of Amazon versus Borders in the online world Introduction With the rise in popularity of the Internet, the death of books was prophesized. The demise of Borders, once the most viable rival to the behemoth book chain Barnes & Noble could be read as a symptom of this cultural phenomenon. However, another of Barnes & Noble's rivals, that of Amazon.com is thriving. Amazon.com introduced a new model of profitability for online retailers, first beginning with books and then branching out into digital books and other forms of goods and services. By some book enthusiasts, Borders was much beloved. "Though it was a chain, with hundreds of locations around the world, during its best years it maintained the feel of a great, expansive local bookstore, the 800-foot space multiplied by 10 or 20 (and much better organized). The choices were manifold, the employees passionate, the adventure always beginning" (Leopold 2011:2). How did this change? This paper will provide a brief comparative history of both companies and demonstrate why Amazon is thriving while Borders is not. "Indeed, there's an irony in its demise, for as Borders is blamed for killing off some local independents, now it has been done in by Amazon and the Internet. The circle may go 'round again: Former customers may turn to independents, if their towns have them. Or, if they rule out their local chain, maybe they'll just go back to browsing on

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