Borders recently announced it has severed its relationship with Amazon. Dah!?!?! It's like a guy feeding a monster down in his basement until it grows large enough to demolish the house and eat his family in the process. So Borders has now taken borders.com back from Amazon. And what???? Business as usual won't cut it for Borders. The brick and mortar model isn't nimble enough in its current incarnation to survive long term in the world of the web.
Bloggers criticize or congratulate. Let's take a shot at constructive suggestions for the evolution of Borders. It has to be outside the box because this company is on life support. Here's a thought: get into the used book market. How? Give buyers store credit for 1/2 the selling price of a user book on Amazon when they return book after reading it. Then resell the book on Amazon for cash. Why? You build a deeper relationship with the Borders buyer. I have sold used books on Amazon but it is a pain. If Borders would do it for me and save the hassle, I'd be glad to give them 50% of the revenue for the trouble. You could do the same thing with CDs. Why would a person return a CD? Once a listener has copied the tracks onto their MP3 player, a fair percentage of the buyers have little use for the CD. It may help stimulate CD sales if buyers know they can get a return on the investment.
Next thought, become a book publisher and music recording label for unknown artists. How can Borders push up its profit margin? By cutting out the publishing companies and music labels. If a writer or artist takes off, then Borders is the only outlet for their work. How to discover new artists? Let the customers tell you. Start off placing samples of new artists online. The users vote online ala digg.com. The artists with the most diggs move up into more prominent placement within the web site. The cream of the crop go to test market in selected brick and mortar Borders stores as well as on borders.com. Those that show well in limited release get placement in all borders.com stores coast to coast. I'm thinking contests and press releases. This could be big.
Borders, are you listening? Or are you just going to fold up your tent and die? Feel free to add you own ideas for the survival of Borders.