Why didn’t Amazon buy Borders.com?

On September 26, 2011 the federal bankruptcy court approved the sale of  Borders’ brand trademarks, domain names, and customer lists to Barnes & Noble for approximately $14 million. The true value of the sale was just shy of $16 million but a bookseller — in Malaysia! — bought the remaining assets totaling approximately $2 million.  As a result, Barnes & Noble received customer information, mailing lists, and all the traffic resulting from www.borders.com – it now forwards directly to barnesandnoble.com.

These assets were offered in an auction. So one has to ask, why didn’t Amazon buy them?   Here are some thoughts:  Amazon probably already has all the customer information Borders.com was offering.  But wouldn’t the domain names redirecting to Amazon.com be something Jeff Bezos & Co. would value?  Perhaps. Perhaps not.  Here’s a comparison of the website traffic for borders.com, barnesandnoble.com, and amazon.com, courtesy of our friends at Alexa:

Perhaps Amazon felt the Borders.com domain name was not very valuable. And this chart below can demonstrate perhaps why Barnes & Noble did … their traffic is at least in the same ball park, once you remove Amazon from the scale:

What do you think? Should Amazon have bought Borders’ assests rather than allowing Barnes & Noble to take ownership of them? I’ll open up a public poll tomorrow…