My loved ones know me well. They know what I like and they know that I’m easy to buy for.
Several are burning a hole in my wallet right now, just waiting for my next whim for reading that ” classic” that I should have read in high school or for the next hot new release to hit the shelves.
I love to read and I’m a big fan of bookstores. Browsing bookstores is one of my favorite leisure activities.
Thus, the announcement today about the bankruptcy of Borders is particularly troubling to me. Not that I am especially enamoured with Borders in particular. In fact, I have always considered them a poor cousin of Barnes & Noble. But, there is a Borders located conveniently near my home and the closest Barnes & Noble is about a half hour away. So by default, I patronize my local Borders.
Until now, that is.
Today, I learned that all but one Borders here in this local area will be closing very soon and suddenly the nearest store remaining open will be way out on the north side of town.
Losing a local business is always a disappointment. Especially one that I have come to use regularly. There is something depressing about seeing an empty store front where a vibrant business was recently operating. My feeling is that when Borders closes, we will not get another bookstore … Borders gambled on our 2nd tier market, but it’s not likely that Barnes & Noble would be interested in filling the void. Maybe some nice “Mom & Pop” store will take the chance. Who knows?
But this brings up another potential problem.
There are those who predict the demise of the traditional bookstore in general. They are convinced that online shopping is just too easy and convenient and that soon, nobody will want to spend time hanging out in a physical store.
I say they are wrong. and they are wrong for the same reason that those who predict that “books” themselves are going to be replaced by Kindle and other types of e-reading devices. They believe that bookstores are headed for the same fate as video stores (remember those?) and that because people have jumped on the bandwagon for Netflix, etc. while abandoning trips to Blockbuster, that those same people will be satisfied with downloading reading material electronically.
They think its all about convenience. Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it’s not …
Browsing in a bookstore over a really good cup of coffee is a sensory experience that is as different from dashing in and out of a video store as spending a relaxing day on the beach is from baking in a tanning booth for 15 minutes. They are simply not the same and never will be.
I have to admit, I’m prejudiced. I will never be a candidate for a Kindle although I can see the appeal for some people. And while I will always be willing to order a book on line, nothing will replace the enjoyment and pleasure I get from just spending time (and money) around books in places where they are physically sold.
I never got that same pleasure at Blockbuster. Did you??
The Borders reps claim that they will continue to honor gift cards as long as they are still a functioning business, but as soon as my neighborhood store shuts its doors, the chances that I will seek out a Borders from a distance are slim.
So, anyway … tonight, or very soon …
I need to make a Run for the Borders.