It's official: Blockbuster filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier today. I mentioned Blockbuster few weeks ago with regards to Barnes & Noble as I thought B&N should learn couple of lessons from the failure of Blockbuster (as well as from Tower Records before it).
Of course many on this day connected the dots between the two and not in a positive way for B&N. Michael Wolf asked on GigaOm Tech News 'Will All Brick & Mortar Media Sink Like Blockbuster?' and wondered if this is a sign for other brick and mortar retailers:
But are Blockbuster’s troubles a sign that all large brick and mortar retailers of content — be it music, movies and yes, even books — are eventually doomed? If you look back, signs point to yes.
Although he was more optimistic about B&N ("Barnes & Noble appears to be trying to forge a digital strategy much faster "), his conclusion was still somewhat pessimistic:
Still, I expect Barnes & Noble to see significant challenges in coming years, particularly since Amazon will likely dominate e-book sales, at least in the near term. As with Blockbuster, the combination of a nimble digital rival and costly brick and mortar real-estate weighing down the actual product ties a retailer down. And we all know that what happens when you when you tie a brick to something: it sinks.
Green Street Advisors analyst Cedrik Lachance was also pessimistic. He told Reuters the following:
The future of retailers of books appears to be going the direction of DVDs, video retailers or the music industry. It appears that books will follow in that direction but it will be more slowly.
The connection between Blockbuster and B&N wasn't the only lit one made today. Apparently there are some who also see here lessons to be learned for the whole publishing industry. Mike Cane, in his post 'Blockbuster's Lesson for Print Publishing', wrote:
Hey, print publishing! Do you really think you’re providing everything people want to read in eBook format? Does Harry Potter ring a bell? What about those backlist titles Andrew Wylie moved into eBooks without waiting for any of you? What about all those backlist and even current titles that readers have scanned and uploaded and are distributing for free?
What do you think? will B&N end up like Blockbuster or B&N is a different case? And what should book publishers take from it? Is there really here a lesson for them? We'll be happy to hear your thoughts!
Raz @ Eco-Libris
Eco-Libris: promoting sustainable reading!