22 July 2011
The Closing of Borders - Where did they go wrong? Who's leaving next?
For readers, this week brought the blow of the closing of one of the nation's top booksellers, Borders. For many, it was a shock. For others, it was a sad, but inevitable end. As I reflect back on my patronage to the store, my opinion of it, and now its downward spiral.
I had always loved Borders, and for years it would be the only book seller I would buy from. I was addicted to walking into the store and perusing the shelves, all mischievously looking for a new read. I remember driving almost two hours away to find this one book, in a snow storm, at eight o'clock at night. (And I'm glad I did, it's one of my favorite series' now!) I remember when my two floor Borders close down, only to be replaced by an up-to-date location at a nearby mall. I remember it all.
But a few years ago, I knew Borders was losing it. I started spending more time, and money, in Barnes & Nobles where their investments seemed to be going places. I still bought from Borders occasionally, but they no longer could appeal to me with their prices or their marketing.
When a Borders closed in my area I was heart-broken, but not surprised. I watched the store start to struggle all the more and I couldn't believe how bad the situation was getting, until it was announced: Borders is closing down. All the stores, for good.
It was a shame, and it will always be, that a chain bookstore has had to close. I have seen my fair share of independent booksellers go under, since they can almost never price right. But to lose Borders? Horrific. I don't think it has hit me quite yet, I don't know what I'll do when I see the empty space where my local Borders once stood.
I hate to think so lightly of this event, but I hope this horrible outcome is only because Borders' marketing campaigns and financial woes brought it, and only it, down. I do not want this to be the beginning of the end for bookstores.
I will say this right now, e-books might be "new" or "convenient" but I hope that no person on this earth will ever replace them with a real book, with real pages and real covers. I hope that my fellow bloggers will never stop going to their bookstores because they can get their favorite classic over wi-fi. If this ever happened, I would be ashamed of my fellow readers.
So, is there some one next? Is Barnes and Noble to follow? (I do believe B&N is a lot better at marketing, finances, and making its way through this confusing and dangerous economy.) But is that enough to save it? Will our generation be so vulgar as to banish the true book from our lives completely? I hope not.
This is a message to all of my readers, followers, fellow bloggers, and fellow book lovers around the world. Let is mourn Borders, but let us never let this happen again. We cannot help short-minded marketers or horribly organized CEOs, but we can choose to buy books, and to buy paper.
How do you all feel about this?