Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Borders Online Bookstore Launches Today

Borders had initially partnered with Amazon to serve as its online retail vendor. A year or so ago, Borders severed that relationship and made plans to start its own e-tailing presence. The beta launch is over and customers can now buy from Borders.com direct.

There are still a ton of glitches to the site. For example, Kresley Cole’s Desires After Dusk is a featured book, but when clicking on the link to buy it, we are presented with an “We’re sorry. This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.”

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In order to rate a review helpful or flag it for removal, you must also be logged in. This is one way to increase accountability although I think the “critical or spiteful comments” language leaves the door open to remove any number of non positive reviews.

I really like the way that Borders is focusing on the covers of the books. It’s a great way for readers to instantly identify with the books.

There is a used book marketplace in partnership with Alibris.

There is a link for ebooks, but it directs you to a page where you have to download software which is likely built on the Sony Connect platform. It appears that the only format of ebook you can buy from Borders is Sony ebook.

Finally, there is an affiliate program. That is where blogs like Dear Author can earn money off the purchases by readers here. The affiliate program is not up and running but when it is, we’ll look into it.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

6 Comments

  1. Anion
    May 27, 2008 @ 10:15:01

    The search function also appears to be not working. I’ve tried several author searches and…um, it doesn’t find them. It just loads the same page over and over again.

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  2. Shiloh Walker
    May 27, 2008 @ 10:59:21

    Oh, wonderful. I’ve been dying for the new site to go live.

    And I must indulge in a giddy squeal… one of the books listed on the main page for UPCOMING ROMANCE RELEASES is Through the Veil

    Okay. I’m easy. Seeing my book there on the first page for upcoming definitely won my vote. Yes, it’s probably because it’s just releasing sooner than some of the others. Still, like I said, I’m easy. ;)

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  3. BevQB
    May 27, 2008 @ 14:53:44

    I’m surprised at how many glitches are on the site. A few would be understandable, but for a site to be virtually useless on launch day? Not good. But looking past the glitches, the site does have potential. Of course, I looked at it first thing this morning, so maybe a few things have been tweaked since then.

    I’m also surprised that previous Borders Rewards data isn’t being used for recommendations. I would have thought they’d use our Rewards numbers to keep track of our purchases, but based on today’s recommendations, they aren’t using that customer specific information and are basing recommendations on generic genre only.

    Also, if you notice, they are showing list price only, not in-store price. For example, LKH’s Blood Noir released today and, as a new release, it will be discounted either 30 or 40% in-store yet the site only shows list price.

    Which brings up the question of Amazon prices– unless Borders increases the member rewards AND increases the amount of coupons available, I don’t see any advantage for a customer to order (for shipping) from Borders instead of Amazon. In fact, when you add in sales tax, shipping from Borders is a definite DISADVANTAGE.

    But in any case, I admit that I’m glad that the site is out of beta now. The preorder and pick-up feature is the most attractive to me. I have never, ever received a new release preordered from Amazon. Why? Because when they don’t ship the object of my booklust by the day AFTER release, I end up cancelling and heading to Borders/Waldens to buy it. Every single time.

    Conversely, my Borders/Waldens doesn’t always shelve or even RECEIVE all the new releases in a timely manner. So I may get SOME of the books I set out to buy, but then I’m heading to the Help Desk to send them searching for the rest.

    But now, with Borders on-line, I can pre-order ALL the upcoming releases a week or so ahead of time and, theoretically at least, I should be able to zip down the road to get them in a timely manner, but without all the the frustrations. Let me repeat… theoretically.

    Hey… wait a minute! If I’m not spending time trying to hunt down the books on my list, I might use the extra time to browse and buy even MORE books. I’m conflicted whether that’s a good thing or not. ;-p

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  4. jmc
    May 27, 2008 @ 15:06:50

    I skipped around the site for a while this morning. It was pretty, but the lack of “sale” prices makes me less likely to buy there than at Amazon or in a bricks and mortar store. Also, the coming soon section was not at all helpful — I was looking for books coming in the next month or so, but it gave me books that will be out in February 2009. Nice to know, but not helpful when planning my June reading/buying.

    The article over on Yahoo’s business page characterizes this shift as desperate and futile, and seems to imply that this is a sudden decision. I haven’t looked into Borders’ historical performance, but I know that this division is at least a year in the making. Sudden? Not so much. Futile? That remains to be seen.

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  5. Tina Burns
    May 27, 2008 @ 18:50:25

    I prefer Borders over any bookseller I’ve been to, so I hope things work out for them. I just went to B&N the other day and left so frustrated with the lack of service and layout. Ugh. Ticks me off every time.

    I like the virtual shelf I can set up on Borders.com.

    Did you notice the Personal Publishing link? Looks like they’re partnering with Lulu.

    addendum: Crap, I’m so going to be spending so much more money now! Pre-Order heaven.

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  6. LSW
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 11:43:07

    I still cannot order from borders.com. At the last page, when I press the submit order button. I get an error than says “This service is not available right now. I’ve tried three days in a row and it still doesn’t work.

    Their free shipping on $25 and up is deceptive. It only applies to orders sent to a store, not mailed directly to you. The only way to get the shipping charge to equal zero was to change to ship to store.

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