Friday, July 22, 2011
Why the Closing of Borders Breaks my Heart.
Earlier in the year, when Borders announced that some of their stores would be closing, I was only slightly nervous. I mean, I had three Borders within a 20 minute drive from my house. Excessive? Probably. I took advantage of the price cuts and such. I ended up bringing home many new books to add to my collection.
But now that Borders is closing everything, including their headquarters in Ann Arbor (about an hour from where I live), the reality of losing such a massive chain of bookstores is kicking in.
I know that there will be a lot of people who simply don't care about the closing of nearly 400 stores nationwide. These are the people who only go to a bookstore when they have to, or who know little about the book industry. But for those of us who visit far more regularly (in my case once a week, sometimes more), I am losing a home away from home. Crazy as it sounds, I love going into bookstores and just walking around. I like seeing the covers all lined up in rows on the shelves waiting for someone to pluck a book out and take it home.
I will miss being able to do that. With Borders gone, we are left with one major chain in my area (that would be Metro Detroit and Barnes and Noble). I worry that they will eventually succumb to the crappy economy and the ereader evolution.
*I should mention that I think B and N is in better hands. With the Nook and NookColor, Barnes and Noble has held its ground better than Borders has*
I'm left wondering what is next for the bookstore world and the fate of hardcover, paper style books? As bloggers, we have all seen the huge increase in ereader technology and many of us own an ereader (I recently was given a NookColor). But have they replaced our love for the original book? In my case, no. While I certainly love my NookColor-it is easier to hold at night when I am lying in bed-it won't replace my love of physical books. I was very upfront with Matt about the fact that just because I have a new ereader, I wasn't forsaking my books! I will never stop buying paper books as long as they exist.
With this closing of a national chain, that reality is one step closer. I think we are nearing the point where large chains simply cannot compete with online stores like Amazon and The Book Depository. I think there is still a longer future for indies and second-hand book stores, but only if the solid base of readers in communities don't give up on them. I think that eventually, bookstores as we know them will no longer exist. That shouldn't surprise anyone, right?
In any case, the out-of-business sales at Borders starts today. The sale even carries online. I know that I will be making a couple of trips in the next week or two to the two Borders still within reasonable driving distance. I still want to thank them for being a home away from home and show my support for bookstores. I hope you will do the same.
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I'm old enough to remember the days when you could find a bookstore (or three) in any major shopping area. Now, though, you almost have to hunt for them...and that's very sad. I must confess, though, that brick-and-mortar shops just can't compete with the convenience and prices of online sites and I do the majority of my book shopping that way.ReplyDelete
I think I'm probably the only book blogger out there who didn't care at all about Borders closing. That's probably just because of where I'm from. It seems Borders is actually a decent store in other places, but here, it's as disorganized, messy, and difficult to shop in as Walmart. In fact, I always associated it with Walmart, and avoided it like the plague unless I had to go there. I would much rather go to B&N for new books, or one of the various Half Price Books stores in the area.ReplyDelete
I'm sorry other people are suffering for this closing, though. While the three Borders around here are ones that can close their doors without a tear shed from me, I'm sorry other people are having their beloved stores taken from them.
This has really cast a pall over my week--not so much because I'm I just have to have a Borders--as for me, it means, quite possibly, no more local bookstore. Period. Borders put the local independents out of business. I'm not exactly in a major metropolitan area, but it's big enough that the thought of having to drive 30-45 minutes to get to a store (of any sort) is just foreign. And that's where we will be for books unless (fingers crossed) another bookstore moves in. According to the local paper, our Borders was always among the top 10 performers so I'm really really hoping somebody will see this as an opportunity. But even while I'm trying to hold out hope for that, I'm just heart sore at the thought that this might be a signal that the end of paper books is coming. And I just can't live with that.ReplyDelete
I'll miss the smell. Coffee and paper and just the book-y essence.ReplyDelete
I know exactly how you are feeling, Allie. There are no independents near me. There is a used bookstore (that I visit) about a half hour from my house and then there is just a B&N and Borders at an hours drive. Borders has been my spot, in part because their member discounts and coupons blow those of B&N away. I visit Borders once a month or so just to have coffee, browse, read excerpts to see which selections will go home with me. I love the "real" paper book, the covers! I bought and returned a Kindle when they first came out because I could not justify spending the money (they were about double the price they are now) when I simply prefered the "real" paper book. I am saddened, no sickened really, by the thought that the real deal book my be facing extinction! And then I think about all those Borders employees who are going to be on the unemployment line. I think I could like the Nook Color, but still...I am not ready. Ereaders just can't give us that magical bookstore experience that I love.ReplyDelete
I am also very upset about Border's closing. When Border's closes there will be no book stores in my area at all. I loved going in and browsing with my kids- are very sad day for all of us.ReplyDelete
I'll miss it too, Allie. I love my Borders and often went there, just to see and touch the new books. I love the employees! They knew me by name and would ask about how school was going, etc, because they knew what I bought and why. (Book-buying tells them about their customers, you know?)ReplyDelete
And you're so right: this is a very unfortunate sign for the future. I hope the libraries aren't next. :-(
I agree that B&N is better run, so there is more hope for it (plus it'll now have less competition!) We should support our indies too, of course! (If it's an option.) BTW, did you know Amazon is in the process of buying The Book Depository? There have been anti-monopoly actions filed in the UK, but it's early days yet to see what will happen. Even if you don't have a bricks-and-mortar store near you, you can shop at them online too! Check out Powells.com. Was online 2 years before Amazon. Amazing store in Oregon.ReplyDelete
It is sad that some communities will be without an easily accessible book store. I was in a Borders awhile ago, and it was closing down. I was happy to pick up some bargains, but the store had such a lonely, empty feel to it. Personally, I love my local indie shop, but there are times when a chain is just simpler or better for certain things.ReplyDelete
I feel exactly the same way, and wrote a similar post (although probably far too short!) on the very subject this morning. I loved Borders, where I'd take my son from his pre-school days on. They were not only a fabulous bookstore, but very family oriented. We went back today after breakfast, to indulge in some of the sale, but the line was to the very back of the store. I guess I'll have to content myself with the books on my Nook, but I'll always have a place for Borders in general, and the printed page in particular, within my heart.ReplyDelete
*sob* That is all.ReplyDelete
Borders closed all its shops in London last year, and it was quite... sad. Now, where the shops used to stand are clothes stores and Waterstones. Waterstones isn't necessarily a bad thing - I do like it better than Borders! But, clothes and other trinkets? Not happy. Like you, I love going into a bookstore and getting that feeling of instant gratification.ReplyDelete
I remembet hitting the Borders closing sale, and buying a fair few books, including Sarah Waters' Fingersmith, which I enjoyed, so hopefully you find the same luck.
I've never been a Borders person, but I still feel for you. I can't imagine if my favorite bookstores closed or if I didn't have one within a close drive. I've actually never experienced either of those things in my life.ReplyDelete
It's sad. I grew up in an area where Borders was the one and only bookstore for a long time. I spent so much time there as a teenager! I'm really sad to see it go and worried what's going to happen to the book world now.ReplyDelete