Everyone’s in a lather this morning over the collapse of REDgroup retail, the owner of Borders Australia and Angus & Robertson. To insiders, this was not a surprise.

So what contributed to the demise … bad management on the part of the PEP group, the role of parallel importation, the strong dollar, e-books?

Speak to independent observers and they’ll tell you a little from column A, a little from column B.

And what does this ultimately mean for the future of Australian book publishing and book retail? What’s the greatest challenge they face?

It’s the answer posed to a multitude of questions that extend beyond the book industry, the music industry and retail in general, it goes beyond Harvey Norman tantrums, extends across politics, power and business, it crosses artificial borders, cuts across the way we communicate, congregate, buy and sell.

As Guy Rundle wrote yesterday, “It’s part of a more radical shift in the whole nature of space and social life that is occurring due to the spread of online existence, and one whose radical impact we have barely begun to reflect on.”

Yes, that’s right, it’s …  the internet.

Maybe Mirko Bagaric was onto something