Robot 6

A sad sign of the times

I’m going to miss my local Borders. It was pleasant, warm, and bright, with natural wood and comfy chairs. The manga section was in a sunny corner, and it was usually quiet, although it wasn’t unusual to have to maneuver around several kids who were sprawled on the floor reading the books (the tribe known in some quarters as “hobotaku”). The coffee was good, and I always bought three Lindt truffles on the way out—two milk chocolate ones, for my kids, and a peanut butter one for me.

This sign appeared in some other Borders, obviously one with a bitter attitude, and it has engendered quite a discussion over at Consumerist, where commenters are wondering whether it was referring to shoplifting or piracy. I would think it would be hard to shoplift manga, what with the little magnetic tags and all, except that I never saw anyone follow up when the alarm at the door went off. One person claiming to be a former Borders employee does say that “shrinkage” was highest in the manga section. That’s not too surprising, as manga has strong teen appeal and teens have little money but a great deal of creativity when it comes to getting what they want. Reading in the aisles, downloading from the internet, or tucking a volume into a pocket are just three paths to the same destination, and all of them spell doom for retailers (and publishers, for that matter).

And by the way, despite that sign, bargains are pretty hard to come by at Borders these days.

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Comments

13 Comments

“I would think it would be hard to shoplift manga”

Not in the least.

Could be talking about Byrne-stealing manga and graphic novels. I use to do that quite a bit before I discovered the local library.

My local Borders had a big problem with shoplifting – to the extent that they could not put Blu-Rays on the floor at all. Had to have them in a locked glass cabinet. Manga was also a big target.

I bought stuff at Borders’ high prices because I enjoyed hanging out there and liked the people who worked there. You can’t discuss the pros and cons of Serenity with Amazon. Most people didn’t see that reality and so Borders is on the ropes. Another problem was the back-ordering of titles. If I’ve made a trip to the store, I kind of want to take the book home with me, not wait a week and a half, especially if the price is lower online.

Sean T. Collins

April 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I worked in Borders, and manga was absolutely the #1 most shoplifted section of the store. Kids thought the pricetag stickers were what set off the alarms, so every once in a while you’d find a huge clump of manga pricetags crumpled up into a ball and stuffed in a garbage can.

Prices were the #1 reason why I rarely shopped at Borders. I occasionally bought a book or two there, but the priceing on CDs/DVD/Blu ray was just outrageous. I would only buy the occasional CD or movie, if I had a really good coupon or out of their bargain fbins (where you could honestly find some good deals on old titles). I never particularly cared about chatting up the staff, and I usually knew what I was looking for. Nothing I ever needed so bad I couldn’t wait a week to get it from Amazon, for much, much less. Plus free shipping and no sales tax. The place was a nice, occasional diversion on my lunch hour, and a stop for a quick gift here and there, but that was about it. The pricing, and lousy sale prices when things would go on sale, is really what kept me away.

The closing deals were hit and miss, and the Blu Rays were so high priced that even on their sales prices I’m still better going through Amazon. I did get a few sweet deals on a few books/graphic novels though, a few CDs, and I really scored by waiting until the last week one particular store was open and I got the recent Springsteen Darkness On the Edge of Town box set for 50% off.

Definitely referring to shoplifting. Having worked in a large, corporate bookstore, the graphic novels/manga section had far and away the most ridiculous shrink percentage in the store. That’s what the employees hate–no one cares about online piracy at all. Hell, your customers going to Amazon is more irritating than them pirating content.

Having worked in retail, i can sympathize with the level of bitterness in the sign. I never realized that there were that many rude, selfcentered, thoughtless, arrogant, uncivil people until i manned the cash at a large store not unlike Borders.

Working at retail or food service shows you just how much people seem to have so little respect for other people. It’s as if they’re viewed as sub-human. They’re here for our convenience and to do our bidding and nothing else.

Prices at the Australian Borders’ stores were ridiculous. $16 for a copy of Secret Avengers. $14 for a copy of Archie. No wonder people were shop lifting the produt.

When the Borders shop opened here on the Gold Coast, it had a whole isle dedicated to graphic novels and manga. Now it’s this dirty little corner at the farside of the shop, were the supply lines have been cut.

$16 for a trade of Secret Avengers isn’t outrageous. Esp. considering the import taxes?

funkygreenjerusalem

April 10, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Prices at the Australian Borders’ stores were ridiculous. $16 for a copy of Secret Avengers. $14 for a copy of Archie. No wonder people were shop lifting the produt.

When the Borders shop opened here on the Gold Coast, it had a whole isle dedicated to graphic novels and manga. Now it’s this dirty little corner at the farside of the shop, were the supply lines have been cut.

In Sydney, there is (or was) three big bookstore chains – Borders, Dymocks and Kinokuniya.
Borders and Dymocks have ‘comics sections’ with some of the oddest stock ever – basically someone who’s never read comics ordered for the store – and the prices we really steep.
Both stores ‘comic sections’ were a shelf (half a shelf at Dymocks where ‘how to draw comics’ books seemed to count as comics).
Kinokuniya has well ordered stock – latest releases, and a good amount of old material, all organized in to easy to figure out section) – really good prices (even cheaper with a discount card), and their comic section is several aisles long, with plenty of superheroes, manga and indie books.
Always made me wonder why the other two didn’t decide to go have a look at Kinokuniya’s, and figure out a better way to make money from their comics section – y’know, one a comic fan would be interested in visiting.

Had a mate who worked at Dymocks though, he couldn’t even get his manager to go have a look at what the competition was doing.
The manager actively resented having to have a comics section, as apparently, there was no money in it.
Arguments that it was down to the actual comics they stocked were dismissed as foolishness.

Not sure about $16 for Secret Avengers – the Borders at Chatswood had Essentials for AU$38.75 (!). Even at 20% discount, that is way too steep. Other tpb’s varied from AU$28 to AU$40 (not including the 20% discount)! My wife managed to get some Ultimate Spider-Man volumes for under AU$25.

I might wait to see if the discounts cut a bit deeper close to the end.

funkygreenjerusalem

April 12, 2011 at 6:57 pm

I might wait to see if the discounts cut a bit deeper close to the end.

Those discounts cost more than full price at Kings Comics and Kinokuniya.

Until they are practically giving the stuff away, head across the bridge and into the city for your comics!

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