Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bookstores - Outdated?

Borders, the 2nd largest U.S. bookstore chain is closing its doors after 40 years in business. Experts attribute this in large part to Borders being ill-equipped to adapt to bookbuyers migration to digital formats.

Obviously, ebooks are a big part of my life, but I truly hope print books and the places to go to buy them won't completely disappear in the future.

Over the years, I've spent countless happy hours in used bookstores, trading in paperbacks, combing through the shelves for 'new to me' finds, chatting with other book lovers. I've consumed large volumes of caffeinated beverages while reading in Borders, Barnes and Noble and Walden Books. The used bookstores around here began disappearing about ten years ago. When Waldens closed, my daughter and I shared hugs with the staff we had come to know very well. Many of them went to work at Borders. Of the seven used bookstores I used to frequent, only two of them are left.

Being completely honest, I have always preferred the atmosphere and selection of our local Barnes and Noble, but if I couldn't find what I was looking for, Borders was just up the street. Yesterday, as my daughter and I stood in line at Borders, our arms full of 'great bargains', I was overcome with sadness.

Purchasing ebooks over the internet is a solitary event. The act of shopping for them can't be a looked forward to event with your friends, or a bonding time with your kids. You can't dig through the boxes of them that you've saved over the years to discover that gem you forgot about. You can't touch the yellowing pages, or see the crease at the top of the page indicating where you stopped reading.

I don't know actual numbers, but I do know that there are still a vast amount of people who do not embrace all things digital! I wonder if this shift in the literary world will force them to conform to the changing times, or deprive them of a beloved pasttime?



  1. I hate to say it but Borders really blew it with content and pricing. They filled the front of the store with bargain junk books and then charged exorbitant amounts for other items like CD's or DVD's, which were often priced $10 more than Target... I did not understand their business model.
    I'm hoping this will leave room for the small bookstores to creep back into the market. I miss the speciality bookstores so much.
    XXOO Kat

  2. You're so right, Kat. Their prices have always been out of whack. Also, they started way cutting down the Romance section years ago. There were multiple copies of each book by "big" name authors and little else.

  3. I hope all the bookstores don't disappear. I still love browsing the shelves. I enjoy holding a print book in my hand. I know I buy more ebooks now, but I still like discovering new authors in the bookstores.


  4. I noticed Borders romance section shrinking a few years ago and it really surprised me. In the early days it was the only bookstore where I could find Ellora's Cave books in print. I bought my first EC books at Borders along with other great stuff. I am sorry to see any book store go but I do hope this giant falling, leaves room for a new shoot to grow.
    XXOO Kat

  5. I won't necessarily miss Borders, but I will miss brick and mortar book stores - if they all disappear. Yes, I can spend hours in a bookstore, something I won't do online.

  6. I bought my first EC book at Borders!!

    I would love to see small, independant bookstores return!


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