Borders, the brick-and-mortar bookstore that always seems on the brink of financial collapse, will be opening their own ebookstore next month, according to this Mashable article. Along with an ebookstore, Borders has been taking pre-orders for the Kobo e-reader, which will retail for around $150. Borders will also release its own mobile ebook reading app.
Interestingly enough, the Mashable article says that a large book chain like Borders cannot remain competitive without getting into the ebook market. This says a lot about how much ebooks have grown in popularity over the last 2 years and how ebooks are becoming a major player in the publishing industry.
E-book sales reached $313 million in the U.S. in 2009, up 176.6% from the year previous, the Association of American Publishers reported. Forrester Research expects sales to exceed $500 million in the U.S. in 2010.
Borders can use the boost. The retailer has been struggling to stay afloat amidst financial troubles, marked recently by a round of store-level layoffs.
Is Borders too late in entering the ebook market? It might seem late, but ebooks are still in their infancy and so the demand is only going to increase. I think a lot of Borders success with ebooks will be what format their ebooks are in, ebook prices and having a marketing strategy that helps them stand out from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Their best strategy for success, however, might be flexibility, which the Borders CEO is already touting as a major advantage: