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The new Borders website

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1timspalding
May 27, 2008, 11:12am Top

I'd be interested to hear what people think:

http://www.borders.com/

2DaynaRT
Edited: May 27, 2008, 11:15am Top

It looks like the B&N and Netflix sites mated.

eta: and it makes me glad I use Flashblock. I have no love for graphical bookshelves.

3bluesalamanders
Edited: May 27, 2008, 11:18am Top

I like the colors?

Edit: Seriously. But...I don't really get the point. And the site - or the front page, at least - is really busy, which I don't like at all.

4carlym
May 27, 2008, 11:34am Top

It's a tremenous improvement over their previous site.

5PensiveCat
May 27, 2008, 11:50am Top

The "new" section reminds me of Wonder Bread.

6christiguc
May 27, 2008, 12:05pm Top

The front page wants me to tell them to calm down. However, as a whole, it looks more comprehensive.

7sjmccreary
May 27, 2008, 12:05pm Top

I don't remember what their old site looked like - I rarely go there. It looks fairly consistent with the weekly new release updates I get in the e-mail, though. Except the bookshelf thing. I'm not sure what I think of that - easy enough to ignore, I guess. I didn't go past this page, but as long as the search and order features work the same, I don't mind what they've done here.

#1 Tim, you asked our opinions, what is yours?

8dchaikin
May 27, 2008, 12:18pm Top

I like the book shelf browser (although I didn't find the actual selections all that interesting).

9Talbin
May 27, 2008, 1:12pm Top

Overall, the site is much better than is used to be. As sjmccreary (#7) said, it is more consistent with their weekly e-mails (design and content). I don't mind the shelf thing - it's an obvious rip-off of iTunes, but I sort of like iTunes. ;) I wish I was able to do a bit more customization to my account so the books shown would be more to my liking, but oh well.

10imayb1
May 27, 2008, 9:19pm Top

I find the "magic shelf" loading tedious. If there's a loading/time issue, I'd rather have a status bar than gobbledyguk letters I'm compelled to try to read.

Their "personalization" leaves much to be desired, as well.

11oregonobsessionz
May 28, 2008, 12:18am Top

Ugh! Very busy, way too bright, and extremely slow to load, even from a high speed network connection. Most annoying of all, I couldn't find a way to view only nonfiction titles, without selecting a specific genre.

12timspalding
May 28, 2008, 2:15am Top

Ugh! Very busy, way too bright, and extremely slow to load, even from a high speed network connection. Most annoying of all, I couldn't find a way to view only nonfiction titles, without selecting a specific genre.

I opened up a whole slew of messages and was knocking them off one by one. I flipped to this one and saw your comment and thought "Oh no! What part of LibraryThing does he hate so much?!" :)

13jasonseidner
May 28, 2008, 3:10am Top

I keep hearing rumors that Borders is in trouble. Does this new web-site signal otherwise or are they just biding their time?

14pw0327
May 28, 2008, 8:02am Top

They are acrambling. They just opened up a new bookstore in Ann Arbor. It was the regular sized Borders but with half the space for books. They had a much larger music and movies section, a section that sells electronics like iPods and ebook readers, as well as a big chunk of floor space devoted to instant publication. I wasn't really interested but it seems they can take whatever manuscript and make a book for you. Vanity press at its finest.

15DaynaRT
May 28, 2008, 8:12am Top

New NPR story on Borders' attempts to save itself - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90880024&ft=1&f=103...

16TheBoltChick
May 29, 2008, 12:56am Top

While it seems ok once I got used to it, I wouldn't want to bring up the webpage until I have had my coffee in the morning!! That would be sensory overload!

17alaskabookworm
May 29, 2008, 2:31pm Top

Borders is my preferred "big box" book store. I find Barnes & Noble way too cluttered, overwhelming, and difficult to find anything. Contrastingly, Borders was more spacious, light and airy, and seemed to have more literary fiction; overall a much better place to browse. BUT!.... I was there yesterday and they had made impressive strides in "revamping" the store experience. I HATED it. Generally, I like the whole cover-facing-out way of displaying books that they are going for, but when almost ALL the covers are like that.... They have had to get rid of the more obscure literary fiction, which is the stuff I most enjoy "discovering."

That said, it is clear from the website that they are trying to capture internet sales (duh), something they didn't do at all before. Though at first glance I liked the website (though I agree it feels cluttered and over-enthusiastic), my concern is that it will end up being very similar to my recent store experience: visually stunning, but no real depth. When I went to Borders yesterday, I had several hundred dollars of birthday money I could have spent. I walked out with ONE book (Bonk by Mary Roach). To me, that is the most telling thing of all.

(As a quick side note, because of the direction the publishing industry is taking I'm finding it harder and harder to trust publishers and prominent booksellers (amazon, bn, borders, etc.) when they make recommendations. I don't want to waste time on yet ANOTHER worthless "stunning debut". LibraryThing has changed the way I browse and buy books. LibraryThing'ers are a tincture of literary purity.)

18sabreuse
May 29, 2008, 2:44pm Top

>17 alaskabookworm:, Literary purity mixed with alcohol? Sounds about right!

(Joking aside, an interesting point about LT changing your browsing habits -- I feel the same way, although I've never sat myself down and formulated exactly what's changed.)

19VisibleGhost
May 29, 2008, 2:51pm Top

Let's just say after viewing the Borders site I felt no urge to delete my Amazon or B&N.com bookmarks.

20hailelib
May 29, 2008, 4:15pm Top

Just awful.

21southernbooklady
May 29, 2008, 7:03pm Top

The "magic shelf" seems very unmagical to me. In fact, it just sort of emphasizes how unlike a bookshelf it really is. (and it annoys me that I can't read the names of titles and authors, that all the books are basically the same size, even the oversized ones.

Somehow, it seems to me that the future direction of the online book experience is not to be found in trying to imitate a brick-and-mortar one.

22AsYouKnow_Bob
May 29, 2008, 10:34pm Top

I don't have much of an opinion either way about the aesthetics of their new site...but, man, was that a nightmare to try to use.

I haven't bought anything online from them in years, but this reminded me that I had a gift card to use up . . . and my attempt to use their new site was a complete disaster. They owe me a good hour of my life back.

23FicusFan
May 30, 2008, 12:24am Top


I was not upset by the colors because they are the same as in their rewards emails.

It didn't seem too busy because as someone said it resembles ITunes.

The shelves were ok, less annoying than B&N, which freezes the page until it loads (B&N).

I actually searched the site for a book from the new recommendations page. Turned out it was Out Of Print. I ended up in their used section, set up an account and bought 5 books.

They have some oddness in how the used books are set up. I was trapped in the audiobook version, and then it said they only had 1 HC for over $100.00, but I eventually got a larger and less expensive listing of the same book.

I almost never use B&N, and I use Amazon like a books in print to see what is available, in what format and what people think of it.

I use a different Borders site and order most of my US book through it:

http://www.bordersstores.com/search/search.jsp

You can set the store to your local Borders and browse what they have, so you know before you go if the book you want is there. If they don't have it you can order it and have it delivered to the store (no shipping charge). There is no sales tax here so no benefit to buying on line.

I hope they don't do away with the store web site.

Borders is more airy and had more of the backlist, but they may be cutting back because of the face out foolishness.

It annoys me that when you order a book, nothing fancy, they consider it a special order and won't let you use the Rewards Coupons on it. Now if they are cutting back on the books they carry, more ordering and less savings. Not good.

24jasonseidner
May 30, 2008, 1:32am Top

It was way too busy-looking...too much to learn right away. Like an episode of Entertainment Tonight, when they tell 13 things in the first 6 minutes.

I think Border's needs to redefine what a book store should look like online. When it looks the same as Amazon only more complicated, why would I waste time trying to learn my way around? Differentiation is the key, but in a way that makes finding things easier.

25pw0327
May 30, 2008, 9:18am Top

I go to Borders because I like a brick and Mortar book store to browse and to impulse buy. If I wanted to get it on line I go to Powells of Amazon. By doing this, they give me less motivation to go to the brick and mortar store, but then again, I won't be buying from them anyways, I would be getting my books from Powells.

26xenchu
May 30, 2008, 6:18pm Top

It is a busy site and there was too much about music to suit me but the big problem is the book covers. Showing book covers is fine in and of itself but they should be big enough (or expandable) to allow someone to read all the print. And there should be a way to show the back cover as well in a format big enough to read.

I am a creature of habit and usually get my books through Amazon. This is not a site that will change that habit.

27momom248
May 30, 2008, 8:49pm Top

I hate it--can't find anything. I'm still trying to figure out where the "search inventory" is. UGH!!

28imayb1
May 30, 2008, 10:09pm Top

>23 FicusFan:, FicusFan,

I'm surprised your store won't let you use coupons for special orders! My store does for me, all the time.

One of the benefits of the new website is supposed to be that you can use rewards coupons and Border's bucks online. I haven't tried it yet, though.

29legxleg
May 30, 2008, 10:32pm Top

Well, the 'magic shelf' seems sort of silly to me; you have to go through the whole unscrambling letters animation, which is cute the first time, but annoying afterwards.

That said, after poking around a little bit, I think it's a neat touch that you can watch author presentations/readings online. That's pretty helpful for people who live in more remote places and don't get many big authors speaking. The one I saw had the author walking around the store and recommending his favorites, which I thought was neat. I see they've done recommendations from other authors too. If their website changes stick to more content-related stuff, as opposed to kitschy animation, then I could get behind it.

Using Border's coupons and gift certificates also sounds like a good idea; next time I get a certificate I'll have to give it a try.

30pw0327
Edited: Jun 5, 2008, 10:17am Top

Got an email from Borders explaining that this new website was part of the Borders/Walden Books divorce from Amazon. The old Borders web site was piggy backing on Amazon. That explains the gimmickry.

31Jenson_AKA_DL
Edited: Jun 5, 2008, 11:07am Top

I really don't like it. I agree that it takes to long to load.

My biggest issue with it is that I used to be able to click on a box on the front page (can't remember what it said) and go to "my stores" and check the inventory of the Borders I frequent in Keene. I can't find this option on the site anymore and it was the only reason I would ever go there.

edited to add

I guess that's what message 27 was having a problem with too!! mommom-if you find it please let me know.

32Jthierer
Jun 5, 2008, 11:09am Top

>31 Jenson_AKA_DL: bordersstores.com should still work. It allows you to check inventory, etc.

33Jenson_AKA_DL
Jun 5, 2008, 11:14am Top

>32 Jthierer: Thank you soooo much!!! That is it exactly.

34FicusFan
Edited: Jun 22, 2008, 11:03pm Top

# 28 imayb1, At first I could use the coupons, but then it changed. I don't know if their policy changed, or if it was just that the cashiers I had at first didn't know the rule or check the coupon. It now says that you can't use it for special orders on them.

I have used the new site to order books. They were used books. Borders has Alibirs running the used books. I got the books that I wanted, and they came fast (regular shipping). I didn't get anything from Alibirs, but all came from different associate sellers.

Two issues:

One (HC) was listed as a former library book, but in fine condition. Because of that I didn't mind the label on the spine, or the writing/stamping in the inside front of the book. What I didn't expect was the big black marker block on the front cover. They had tried to mark out their bar code by covering it with black marker. The listing said the cover was fine, it should have mentioned the marks. When I wrote them they said Library book covered all sins. For me it didn't. I can't image a library that defaces their books on the cover, or a seller that doesn't mention it.

The other issue was when you go to the site and look at the books, there is a star rating for the condition of the book, and a star rating for the vendor for what they call Reliability.

When I had my experience with the mark on the cover (they said I could return it). I wanted to rate the seller. I looked around and could find no way to do so. I emailed customer service (it took 2 attempts) to get the actual answer (first email was canned corporate speak): Reliability means that they have in stock what is listed on the site, and has no bearing on customer service or happiness, and there is no way for the customer to have direct input on any metric.

So it looks to me like they are trying to make you think that the sellers have a customer service rating, and they don't. Worse they are hoping you will mistake this obscure metric with a customer service rating.

If you as a customer have no leverage, the sellers can ignore your issues. Sellers on Amazon are much more responsive, because they are rated, and you can leave comments.

Needless to say I am unlikely to use Borders Marketplace again. I usually order my used books from Amazon, and I will go back there.

35Jenson_AKA_DL
Jun 23, 2008, 3:15pm Top

Tried bordersstores.com again yesterday and now it brings you to the main website. I called the store instead to check if the book I wanted was there and mentioned this. The clerk I talked to said they no longer have the option to search inventory of individual stores available through the website.

I'm bummed because I really liked this feature!

36bostonbibliophile
Jun 23, 2008, 3:41pm Top

I heart Borders. B&N is much more cluttered and the selection is very bestsellery and dull. The website is a huge improvement- the old Borders site was just Amazon with a Borders logo. but then again the other day i tried to buy a book and Borders said it would take 4 weeks to get it, but Amazon had it in stock. So guess who got my business?

37Talbin
Jun 23, 2008, 3:56pm Top

>35 Jenson_AKA_DL: That is a bummer - it was the only reason I used the Borders website - to check my local store's inventory. Oh, and one time I special ordered a book to be picked up at my local store - it worked perfectly, and I could use my 40% off coupon.

38FicusFan
Jun 23, 2008, 11:57pm Top


#35

http://www.bordersstores.com/search/search.jsp?tt=gn

Mine still works.

This link will let you search my store, but go up and click on store locator link and find and save your store. Then bookmark it and you can go back.

39billtaichi
Jun 24, 2008, 8:29am Top

I think the site is too busy but more importantly functionally I find it awkward to use. Showing the covers is kind of cool but it makes it harder to scan a list quickly. Searching is nowhere near as good as amazon's. I still think the best website for browsing books is amazon.

40Jenson_AKA_DL
Jun 24, 2008, 9:22am Top

>38 FicusFan: Thank you so much!

41Somer
Jun 28, 2008, 10:10am Top

I would be surprised if the link in #35 stays available for long, since it is obvious that it is part of the old design.

However, if you do a search on the new site and then click on Reserve in Store, it will tell you the inventory status for your closest stores. Not as convenient as before, but it's something.

That said, I went to Borders (brick & mortar) last night and was really disappointed in the changes. It felt very unwelcoming to just hanging out and browsing - in fact, my husband was told he couldn't sit on the floor by the computer books to read, even though there was no other seating available (there was limited seating, but it was all occupied). We won't be back...

42bookladykm
Edited: Jul 1, 2008, 4:30pm Top

Yet more proof that I'm getting old. The site is way to perky for me. Maybe their target market is those with short attention span disorder.

The cover out display in the brick and mortar stores is a great way to use up shelf space and keep inventories at a minimum.

I'll stick with the LT quick link to the calm, staid...at least for now...Amazon (which, I'm pleasantly surprised to note, has similar book ratings to LTers).

43timspalding
Jul 3, 2008, 10:35pm Top

>I'll stick with the LT quick link to the calm, staid...at least for now...Amazon (which, I'm pleasantly surprised to note, has similar book ratings to LTers).

You mean the ratings are close?

44bookladykm
Edited: Jul 6, 2008, 3:25pm Top

#43 Tim, yes, the star ratings are usually pretty close, surprisingly. At least for the books I look at.

45SpiraledStar
Edited: Jul 6, 2008, 3:55pm Top

My only problem with it is that it is much harder to search for a book. I used to be able to use bordersstores.com to find books, and the search section gave me plenty of options to chose from. Now, I can barely find the books I search for. An example: I went onto the site yesterday to find a book for my friend's birthday. She's interested in espionage, especially the KGB, so I typed in "KGB." It gave me a much smaller group of results than it had when I searched a few months ago, and the book I wanted would only show up as an audiobook. I later found the book (in print) while glancing through the shelves.

Also, the "find book in a local store" option took forever to find. However, I was able to use it, so I guess whatever was stopping it was fixed.

46AMQS
Jul 6, 2008, 5:07pm Top

The Borders near my house is infuriating if you want to find a children's book. Often the computer will show that there are books in stock, but because of their crazy shelving system no one, especially employees, can find them. There's only a very small section where fiction titles are shelved alphabetically by author, and those are only the books that don't fit into their other shelving categories (Books with Horses, Book with Aliens, Books with Fairies, Books with Magic, Books with Sports, Award-Winners, Recommended Books, Series, Books for Boys, Books for Girls....Aargh!!!)

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