It came as a surprise to some to see the administrators called on Borders and Angus and Robertson are both part of the Redgroup retail chain. Angus & Robertson has a 125 year old history in Australia and together the two chains accounted for about a quarter of all books sold in Australia.
But, as Sven Feldman explains in today’s BTalk, the collapse was inevitable. Sven is an Associate Professor at the Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne. He says the company grew too quickly and underestimated the impact that eBooks would have on the frequent reader. In fact, it seems attempts by the book industry to try and prevent parallel imports of hard copies of books were a futile attempt at protectionism that was insignificant compared to the main issue.
So does that mean we are unlikely to see these chains rise again from administration? And what future is there for other, smaller, booksellers? How can other industries cope when technology shifts the market so dramatically?