January 7, 2011
I’m probably going to get some flak for knowing the plot of “You’ve Got Mail”.
It’s an update of a rather annoying movie called “The Shop Around the Corner” with Jimmy Stewart, where everyone says the words “Mr. Matuschek” a million times. Just 8 years later, they remade it in a music store with Judy Garland and called it “In the Good Old Summertime” to update it for the kids.
Then, in 1998, it was remade again as “You’ve Got Mail” (Of the three, it’s my favorite version. Mostly because of Meg Ryan.).
But the plot was basically that a large, impersonal bookstore came and kicked the crap out of a tiny, personal, relationship based bookstore called… The Shop Around the Corner. But the woman who owned the little bookstore and the man who owned the big, impersonal bookstore chain fell in love via the power of AOL even as they hated each other in real life.
Well, the little bookstore of course went out of business. And now just 12 years later, the magical internet that captured their imaginations and facilitated their love is out to put the big box stores out of business too.
Via everyone on the Internet, Borders is trading at 86 cents a share and has a market cap of 62 million dollars. It has around 700 locations valuing them at less than $100,000 per store.
It’s time for a sequel.
Maybe this time a Jeff Bezos character falls for a Borders Regional VP down the street.
Note: Yes I know, AOL got the crap kicked out of it by the rest of the Internet the past 12 years too. Heck, in 1998 AOL had $4.2 billion lying around to pick up Netscape. The whole company is worth $1.7 billion less than that purchase price right now. But that is for another post.