Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Goodbye, Borders

So it's final- Borders is closing. All of the remaining stores will be shuttered, some starting as early as this coming Friday.

It seems like this has been coming for a long time. Everything I've read suggests years of mismanagement lay behind the company's failure and that the writing has been on the wall for at least the past two years. Supply chain issues, executive issues, and the company's failure to compete online all seem to be contributing factors, as well as the shift towards e-books and the diminishing bricks-and-mortar bookselling business more generally. NPR offered their take yesterday.

A while back I wrote a post about Borders from my own perspective, but now that the store's demise is imminent, I'm wondering, what will you be doing for your bookshopping? Amazon only? Independent bookstores? Are there any indies left in your area? Or any other book-buying options besides those online?

I'm lucky to live in an area rich with independent bookstores and I have a Three Wolf Moon shirt so Amazon has nothing more to offer me. The indies will continue to enjoy my patronage and I'll continue my occasional visits to Barnes & Noble, of which there are several in my area.

If you're a Borders customer with remaining gift cards or you're thinking about taking advantage of the liquidation sales, Consumer Reports has an article containing some advice.

So I guess I'll offer my humble thanks to the company and the employees that did so much to put great books in front of me and support the careers of so many writers. I can't imagine this is good for writers, for readers or for much of anyone. I wonder how publishing and writing will fare in a shrinking market. Someone suggested farming books out to other kinds of retail and doing away with bookstores entirely- so presumably all you'd be able to buy are cookbooks and, I don't know, hiking manuals? Scratch that! We need bookstores because we need a literary culture. I'll do what I can to keep that culture going; what about you?