On The Borders: What People Aren’t Buying

Lucas Jensen | April 2, 2009 9:15 am

As part of book giant Borders’ slashing of its DVD and CD sections, the store here in Athens, Ga., is selling its CD and DVD inventory at 50% off. The standard pre-liquidation price for a CD? $18.99. So at 50% off, most of the remaining inventory was still as much as it would have been at Best Buy, Target, or Wal-Mart. In fact, in most cases the prices were exactly twice what they were at the Big Boxers, particularly in the DVD/Blu-Ray section. I decided to document the dregs of Borders’ music collection to see what people weren’t buying, much like I did last year during the Circuit City fire sale. All of the releases documented after the jump had at least four copies for sale.

The shelves are picked over. If all of the Borders are on the same timetable, you better hustle. I did see that awesome Forever Changes two-disc collection for 10 bucks.

This is endemic of what I saw. The Killers, Bavarian Tradition, and a 2009 Grammy Nominees CD, all lying on top of Igor on Blu-Ray. I don’t know why, but this is one of the saddest things I have ever seen.

The Airborne Toxic Event and Loudon Wainwright III: together again for the first time. These guys were all over the place, never where they were supposed to be. Not a bad deal on TATE, if you’re into that sorta thing.

There was plenty of Sinatra to be found, all of it originally overpriced. These are great records, sure, but they had Super Savers in there for $16.99!

Maybe someone at Borders was a big Andre Rieu fan. There were at least 30 of his CDs all told. Looks like a nice enough guy. He’s really going for on the cover of New Year’s in Vienna.

Not to pick on Mindi Abair, but she joined Andre Rieu as the most un-bought artist at Borders. There was another stack there, next to a whole bunch of Michael Franks and Earl Klugh. Who did Borders’ stocking? The Weather Channel? My dad?

You could get “snowed under” in Snow Patrol CDs (haw haw), probably because this CD+DVD combo was priced at $21.99 originally.

Nothing against Atmosphere, but there was absolutely no reason for Borders to have ordered eight copies of this in our current music-selling climate. You can always order more. You can’t order less.

I’d like to think that Saul Williams was here en masse because everybody had already downloaded it, but I’m not so sure of that. Borders’ selection was overall more interesting than Circuit City‘s, if a little more mystifying.

Ingrid Michaelson was well-represented. “As heard on Grey’s Anatomy” doesn’t mean what it used to, but this thing was priced to sell and didn’t. It looks like a 90s cut-out bin record, like it should be laying next to Ednaswap and Echobelly.

I have this and have never listened to it. What am I afraid of? Oh, yeah…it sounding like the artwork.

Delta Spirit was out in force. I don’t have any good puns for this.

Wow! I wonder why this never sold? As a music consumer, I can think of no more inspiring words in the year 2009 than “Goo Goo Dolls, Vol. 2.”

The theme song is on this. ‘Nuff said.

There was lots of John Legend on display; maybe people heard him sing at the Academy Awards.

Now this is just a shame. Who doesn’t love “Lido Shuffle”?

Plain White T’s: One of those bands that seems more popular in theory.

I know Switchfoot and Nickel Creek are popular, but seven copies of the collaboration between members of those bands is probably overestimating demand just a bit.

Turn away, Maura! Turn away!

These Melissa Etheridges were like this when I got there.

No love for My Love by Celine Dion.

This Atreyu package would be a good deal if I liked them at all.

Some around these parts will feel no small amount of schadenfreude at this picture.

These things were everywhere, a symbol bit of music industry detritus.

Just plain odd. Somebody must have a really bad back. It shows you how much they cared about the aesthetics of the music section.

Howie Day: the loneliest featured CD ever.

Who thought this was a good idea?

This is my version of hell.

Oh, no, wait. This is.

Overall, in most cases, it’s not hard to see why what’s not selling is not selling. A lot of times it what the pricing, but a lot of it had to do with target markets. This is a Borders in Athens we’re talking about—the chamber of commerce practically hands you cardigans, ironic mustaches, and plastic-framed glasses when you move here, so it’s no wonder Dream Theater DVDs aren’t moving out the door.