Well, you have to realize, folks, that Borders isn’t going away. Just a bunch of its stores. (200? 275?) I’ve seen different numbers.
Borders Bookstores are offshoots of mall bookstores like B. Dalton and Walden’s. These “nook” bookstores in malls were a part of every mall experience. However, when L.A. style stripmalls started popping up, there was more room. So rather the idea of a bookstore offering much more than books popped up.
Also, the idea of discounted bestsellers popped up.
The second half of the 20th century was the era of the paperback. When the New York Times started listing paperback bestsellers, it started a ball rolling.
The major innovation in the seventies with bookstores was Crown Books. These large stores started up in the D.C. area as side-stores to the Dart Drug Stores. Crown sold bestsellers at deep discounts… at the back of the store!
On the way, you got a chance to browse all kinds of books. Including cheap remainders.
Crown bookstores looked like discount bookstores. I sure loved ’em, though, and bought many books there. However, with Borders and Barnes and Noble the idea was UPSCALE. These, the idea went, weren’t shops you went into, browsed, bought and checked out. These were places you could buy a cup of coffee and hang out. You could buy CDs or greeting cards and gifts. Best of all you could read magazines without paying for them.
This model became quite popular, still selling bestsellers at a discount.
The unfortunate result, however, was the demise of many independent booksellers. And independent booksellers were the backbone of the book industry.