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.