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?

15 comments:

Vasilly said...

I'm sad that Borders is closing but I'm honestly not surprised. We had three Borders stores in our city and all but one are now closed. The last opened location is almost worst than any used bookstore. The quality is no longer there. I live in a mid-sized city with a few indie stores but nothing that I can really depend on for my bookish needs since they're so far and are mostly specialty and used stores.

Icedream said...

I'm devastated! When my local store made the list I thought we were going to be ok but following the news I saw it was only a temporary reprieve. Borders is the retail bookstore within an hours drive of my hometown. No indies, nothing. We have two used book stores left. I have no options but to order online and it's not the same. I paid more just to be able to relax in the bookstore atmosphere, buy a coffee and browse. I want to cry.

bermudaonion said...

It's very sad. All we had here was a Borders Express and it closed a while ago. We have 2 Barnes & Nobles, a Books-a-Million and an indie. The indie is the one that gets my money.

fatbooks.org said...

I was wondering, too, where people will go for their books if their local Borders closes. I'm lucky in that where I'm from in the States, there are some used bookstores...I grew up a 15-minute walk from one, and after Peace Corps I'll live in either Philly or Brooklyn, where finding an indie store won't be a problem. But people who live in areas that don't have these options, or a store like B&N...they'll be forced to shift their buying online, won't they? I'm wondering if Amazon is going to benefit from the end of Borders, because it will leave some areas without a place to go book shopping.

-- Ellen

Sandy Nawrot said...

My Borders shut down months ago. Very sad because it was very close to my home. Unfortunately we have NO indie bookstores in Orlando...the last one shut down about a year and a half ago. So I am left with B&N and that is it. I try to seek out indies when I travel, and that is best I can do. *moping*

Zibilee said...

I am also saddened by this news. Like Sandy said, there are no independents here, which means that all my money goes to Barnes and Noble and the used bookstore in my area. I do do a lot of ordering online as well, just because it is really hard to find exactly what I am looking for with only a handful of stores in the area. I think I am going to stop in to the Borders in town to offer them my condolences.

reviewsbylola said...

This is such a bummer. I don't shop at Borders often but the mall where I work has a Waldenbooks, so I will miss that.

Marce said...

Marie, we were in Boston a couple weeks ago and was walking on Newbury on our way to Borders and OHHHH its closed, wow. I thought, Marie is a blogger in Boston but of course I didn't know where :-)

I live in Bermuda and ordering books is fairly easy but I love my Kindle or just order online from Book Depository.

Audra said...

I know it's hot to hate on chains and I do love my indies but the enormous stock Borders had was really quite breathtaking. When one opened in Pittsburgh, it was like angels descending on the city -- so many genres and authors I'd only heard about -- unavailable to me even through the library. I hope this makes folks more interested in their local bookstores -- and I definitely send my thoughts to those who are losing their jobs. :(

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I'm a Barnes and Noble and indie fan. I'm sad to see any bookstore close, but am hoping that this gives a rise to indie bookstores. The one closest to me in North Florida is such a wonderful place with excellent author events. I don't really get that from the Barnes and Noble, surprisingly.

stacybuckeye said...

It scares me a little to see how little importance is places on books. When I went to our Borders yesterday the bookseller had no idea when they would close. I feel bad for all of the employees. I do buy books online, but the B&N 15 minutes away still gets a fair amount of my business,

Space Station Mir said...

I've been resigned to Borders closing for a couple of years now. Honestly, I mainly shop at Barnes&Noble and Amazon, but when I lived in Boston, I tried to patronize independent bookstores. I shouldn't be buying more books for a while, but when I do, I'll try to do it at independent bookstores.

Kathleen said...

I'm really sad that Borders is closing. I have next to no indie stores in my area unless I drive an hour north to San Francisco. I'm just glad that we still have several Barnes and Nobles in the area.

Esther said...

I will miss my two local Borders. There is an indie bookstore near me but it's small, parking is difficult and there's no place to get something to drink and sit awhile. Plus, I feel awkward if I leave without buying anything. Just not conducive to browsing. I spent many, many weekend afternoons browsing in Borders and I almost always bought something (usually with one of their e-mail coupons.) But I did spend money!

Rebecca Glenn said...

Thank you for this lovely post, and for all the comments, as well. I'm a long-time Borders employee (seventeen plus years)and fellow blogger. Here are my thoughts on receiving the news on Monday: I'll Just Say Fare-Thee-Well.

Becky (The Book Frog)