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Back in February, our friends at ICV2 reported that Borders (Book Stores) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. How does this affect HeroClix and the gaming industry? Quite a bit more than you'd think.
The number of Borders shops will certainly shrink as they start shutting down underperforming stores (most of them), which immediately shrinks the number of places you can buy gaming products. This won't affect your local mom and pop shop negatively, but it will definitely hurt the manufacturers and distributors, which is never a good thing.
Specifically, Diamond Distributors is taking a huge hit from the bankruptcy, being owed some $3.9 million dollars by Borders. Diamond and others will certainly get some of their money back, but not all of it (probably not even most of it). They’re going to take a hit, that’s for sure.
The largest hit of all will certainly come from Anime, an industry who saddled up with Borders many years ago. Local retailers I spoke with described it best – when Anime was still a struggling business in the United States, local comic/game shops took up the mantle and carried it for their customers. When Anime made it big, they moved nearly all their product to Borders and other big chains.
A natural part of business? Sure, but it stung the local loyal shops that helped bring Anime into the mainstream. Speaking of loyalty, one retailer told me that Anime fans are the least loyal customers you will ever find – if they can find the same $10.00 dvd or manga up the street for 2% less, they won’t hesitate to leave your store and run to your competitor for that 20 cent discount.
As such, the Anime industry has been trying to get back into the good graces of local comic/game stores the last few years, but store owners aren’t willing to commit this time. The Anime industry is in a whole heap of trouble now, which may take a long timefor them to recover.
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