Friday, February 18, 2011

Borders

I was sorry to read that Borders has filed for Chapter 11, and among many others will be closing the last of their stores that is within reasonable driving distance of my house (Borders already closed my favorite mall bookshop last year.) Because the big store was almost an hour away I didn't get there very often, but when I did I always found what I was looking for.

I have some good memories of Borders. The first time I saw a book of mine on a shelf was at one of their stores in South Florida. I held my first booksigning there, too (that's me and my daughter at it eleven years ago.) That store had a wonderful children's section, so I was always taking my kids there.

I think what I most enjoyed about that store was meeting a writer friend there in the cafe to exchange chapters to read and talk shop. We did that once a week until my friend moved away. A couple years later I got a job working as a bookseller at another nearby store that was acquired by Borders Group, and that was likewise a marvelous experience.

I was reading an article the other day that predicted 90% of all brick-and-mortar bookstores will disappear in a few years. I don't like to imagine a world without bookstores, but I tell myself at least we'll still have public libraries. Maybe. If we're lucky.

There are many folks employed by Borders in the stores who have been fierce and loyal supporters of my work. If any of you are reading this, I am beyond grateful for all you've done to introduce readers to my books as well as so many other authors. I am sending my prayers and good thoughts your way, and I hope you guys don't give up, either. You do much more than simply sell books, and we need you out there to keep sharing the love.

9 comments:

  1. Powell's, which is the city-block-size bookstore in Portland, recently laid off 30-some employees. A bummer. I love that place. My dad and I used to joke that instead of winning the lotto, we'd be even happier if they just let us move into Powell's.

    On a positive note - we're getting our library back. With luck, by July 1, but possibly not until later in the year.

    So far, our local bookstores are doing well. Odd, really. We have one new, one used (plus a new titles from locals), and one with both new and used. All within two blocks of city center, in a town of ~5000 people. Plus another bookstore in a town 20 minutes away - billed as the oldest bookstore in the state.

    Not entirely sure how that happened. In a town that two took tries to keep their public library, we can support that many bookstores? Granted, there is a decent rural population, but it still seems a bit unbalanced.

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  2. It's funny, back when Borders started out, we were all supposed to hate them as the major force that would End Independent Booksellers Forever. I didn't believe that, and it didn't happen. And now with so many Borders closing, I find it a very sad thing to loose them. I doubt that 90% of bookstores will disappear, but a great many of them may, or will have to make some major changes. Even mighty Powell's here in Portland just had to lay off some 38 employees, and our downtown Borders (my best source for cool magazines) has closed. It used to be that internet sales meant the ultimate doom for bookstores, and now it's e-readers. I suppose I should be happy that literature will not disappear, but it won't be at all the same, asking an author to sign a ... kindle.

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  3. We're losing our closest Borders, too. Now I have to settle for Hastings or add another 15-20 min on my already 2-hr trip to get to the B&N.

    I don't even want to think about losing 90% of the bookstores. A world without bookstores would be a sad place.

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  4. It is very sad to see Borders go ....It is a horrible thought to think of no more libraries and book stores, but remember people thought there would be no more movie theaters after the advent of video. There's just no replacement for the experience of a library or movie theater. Hopefully, they will always be there.

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  5. Very sad about Borders. The local indies here seem to be doing fine, and I hope it stays that way.

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  6. This is really sad news for my little group of friends. Every week we meet at a deli for about four or five hours to write, exchange work and just hang out before going over to Borders. It's part of our weekly routine. That's not to say that there aren't plenty of bookstores in out area - it's the Dallas-Ft Worth Metroplex, there are tons of them, but that Borders was special because it was one of the first places we met at during and after NaNoWriMo.

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  7. The Borders I work at was only one of two stores selected to close in Kansas. It's bittersweet, really, because there are two Barnes & Noble stores within a ten mile radius of our store. We weren't really needed. We had a strong customer base and loyal visitors, but the competition was too fierce. With our closing, I'm hoping business will boom for the other bookstores in town.

    I can't imagine a world without bookstores. My son was basically raised at Borders. I've taken him every weekend since he was a few weeks old. We don't always buy something, but we walk around and talk to people. I hate that we're going to have to break our tradition of three years, but it will give us a chance to begin a new one.

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  8. They are closing three Borders within a 25 mile radius of me, including their Ann Arbor store which I find rather ironic.

    They still have many stores in our area though and I do hope they can reorganize and come back.

    I have a few eBooks. They're loaded on my phone so I have something to read when I'm stuck somewhere. But nothing, nothing will replace the feel of a "real" book in my hands, be it paperback or hardcover. I play with the edges while I read, sometimes if the paper is wonderful, I'll smooth the pages while I read. I love the scent of a brand new book.

    EBooks will never be able to replace the things a tactile person needs.

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  9. Stephenia10:05 AM

    I was sad to hear of Border's closing also - I went there just last night. I hate to think the trend of having no bookstores, there is nothing like holding the book in your hands to read and enjoying the cover art.

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