I have been a Borders customer for a long time, most times buying coffees while studying (reading books) there, from time to time I also bought some computer or finance related books, such as Effective C++, My Life as a Quant, etc. One benefit of buying books at Borders (compared to Amazon) is getting the book right away, vs. waiting and waiting (I normally use Amazon free shipping option which typically takes a week). We know time is money in many cases.
Recently I bought two books from Borders, one is Cocoa Programming on Mac OS X, another one os Pro C#, both with 40% discount (available to Borders members only, free to join). With the 40% discount, the books are about the same price at Amazon. For instance, the list price of Pro C# 2008 is $59.99, it’s $36 after 40% off (before tax). Amazon price is $37.79.
(Source: NPR Market Place)
Book sellers like Barnes Noble and Borders are under tremendous pressure amid the competition from Amazon, and the slowdown of the economy. Yesterday I read from WSJ that Borders are laying off 136 people from its HQ (12% of its corporate workforce). So they are doing cost cutting, driving efficiency. This leads to one problem for customers, very lean inventory. Sometimes they just have one book for a title. In this case the customer will have to order from the store.
I don’t know whether Borders will eventually survive this downturn, I hope they will. That’s one reason I shopped there (to support them). Otherwise we will have to buy books online and for me personally, one fewer place for study.