Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Without Borders

Borders Books is closing? Really? Yawn. Seriously. Although I feel for the nearly 11,000 employees who will lose their jobs, and the publishers who will suffer when unsold books are returned and bills are left unpaid, I don't see how this will impact me in the slightest.

Borders didn't carry my book. I was never tempted to arrange an event at a Borders. I haven't shopped in a Borders for years (other than an attempt to bargain hunt at a store-closing sale earlier this year) and the last time I tried to do so I was horrified by the staff's lack of book knowledge. When I worked in DC, I used to visit Borders often on my lunch hour, and possibly they started losing money when I moved away. But Barnes & Noble long ago passed Borders as my favorite superstore, for inventory alone--not to mention ambiance, coffee, and competence.

And the closest Borders to me now is about 100 miles away. The Barnes & Noble branches aren't exactly close--there's one in Harrisonburg and one in Charlottesville--but they're in reach. And there are decent independent bookstores much closer. I may not be able to browse much in those stores, but they will be happy to order for me--and be polite and efficient while doing it.

So I can't get too broken up about the loss of Borders. There are plenty of problems in the book business, but Borders' wounds were self-inflicted.


Christy said...

Cliff - I agree that the Borders I've been to were not well run and didn't have great inventory. I've always preferred B&N, or better yet, indies. The sad thing (other than the loss of jobs) is that for some, Borders was the only brick and mortar within miles. I lived in Lebanon, NH last summer and spent lots of time in Borders. The only other bookstore within a 45 minute drive was a tiny B&N campus bookstore with very little selection and no cafe or place to just hang out. Can't imagine living in a town with no bookstore to wander in.

Clifford Garstang said...

True. Good points. Even our little indies here don't support hanging out for very long, although there are cafés nearby.

In NH, at least you had a great Indie in Keene, about an hour away?

Pete said...

I agree. True, they were technically done in by Amazon, but they never really embraced e-commerce and then e-books until it was much too late. It was simply a case of poor management which didn't recognize that the industry was changing.