The Simple Reason Why Borders Failed And Barnes & Noble Didn't

Barnes & Noble

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Since the mid-Nineties, the key difference between Borders and Barnes & Noble was their online strategy (via @edwardnh).B&N invested in online sales and introduced its own e-reader.

Borders doubled down on the traditional business at more and larger locations, according to NPR:

It made a pretty big bet in merchandising. [Borders] went heavy into CD music sales and DVD, just as the industry was going digital. And at that same time, Barnes & Noble was pulling back,” says Peter Wahlstrom, who tracks Barnes & Noble for the investment research firm Morningstar…

[I]t expanded its physical plant, refurbished its stores and outsourced its online sales operation to Amazon.

“In our view, that was more like handing the keys over to a direct competitor,” Wahlstrom says.

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