Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this morning in New York, making it one more casualty of the continuing slow death of physical media. Six Colorado stores will close in the coming weeks, though none of the Denver locations. They've still got some time to right this thing, but it will have to be drastic. We have five suggested overhauls that might send them toward black.
1. Go kiosk It's working for Redbox, and even Blockbuster a little bit. Open up a bunch of kiosks to be placed wherever people have time to kill -- doctor's offices, airports, college campuses, etc. and stock them with magazines, puppy calendars, greeting cards and whatever else Borders still manages to sell occasionally. Go with a nominal rental fee.
2. Make it all digital Keep the storefronts, but stock them all with USB drives and download codes for the media that used to occupy the space. Have a few in-store copies of things so people have something to pick up and browse in the store, and expand the coffee shop sections by orders of magnitude.
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3. GTL 4 Life Replace all existing books with Snooki's A Shore Thing and all CDs with DJ Pauly D club mixes. Turn the coffee shops into protein shake bars with under-the-table steroids. In two years, when Jersey Shore is canceled, just have the cast tour all Borders locations as a full-time job until you find another reality TV series to capitalize on.
4. Borders museums Freeze all current stock and turn the stores into museums. Won't make much sense now, but in twenty years when kids being born will never read books printed on paper, they could become treasured institutions. Think of it as sort of like vinyl albums -- bet there are plenty of people who wish they'd rode out the tape/cd/mp3 cycle until their giant record collections were worth something again.
5. Strip clubs Sex sells, right -- just turn them all into strip clubs. Pay homage to your roots by making them sexy librarian-themed.