Make a Run for the Borders

With gifts, they say it’s the thought that counts … but, buying a gift for me usually doesn’t take a lot of thought.

My loved ones know me well.  They know what I like and they know that I’m easy to buy for.

That’s why I got a boat-load of Borders gift cards for Christmas again this year.

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.


About Judson

Late bloomer ... aspiring writer and musician.
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7 Responses to Make a Run for the Borders

  1. territerri says:

    Border’s is closing? That makes me so sad. There is a Border’s store as well as a Barnes & Noble each about equal distance from my home. I tend to frequent Barnes & Noble more because it is closer to some of the other shopping I tend to do. And even though I just got a Nook (and LOVE it) I will always want to have the opportunity to browse a book store. You’re right about it being a sensory experience. I can lose hours browsing a book store, paging through fiction and classics, cook books and how-to books. I can’t imagine book stores becoming obsolete.

  2. nrhatch says:

    I agree with your analysis ~ because of the limited information on DVD jackets, it’s actually BETTER to pick out movies on line. So the closing of Blockbuster and move to on line makes sense.

    But even with the LOOK INSIDE features on books sold on line, shopping on line for books is NOT the same as flipping the pages and deciding whether or not to purchase.

    Now . . . go spend those gift cards and ENJOY every minute of your shopping experience.

  3. Maggie says:

    I feel the same way about bookstores (I love them). Downloading reading material from the Internet just doesn’t have the same appeal or satisfaction.

    Where I live, there’s a small “mom and pop” used bookstore nearby that I often go to. Borders and Barnes and Noble are pretty far away from me, so it’s very rare when I go there. There’s also something more appealing about used books… besides the fact that they’re relatively inexpensive!

  4. judson says:

    I love a good used bookstore! We have a great one on the main drag near campus.

  5. Buying books online is never going to equal actually feeling the weight of a book in your hands, or rubbing your fingers over the embossed letters on the cover, or feeling how thick or thin the pages are. Obviously for me reading is a very tactile sensation! Our lone book store closed last year and I’m feeling pretty lost without it, I’ve been buying most of mine at Goodwill.

    Just FYI, I saw on CNN that the declaration of bankruptcy might mean that you can’t use your gift cards anymore, not sure how true that is but I hope you get to spend yours!


    • Judson says:

      Daphne —

      I’m with you on the tactile experience of holding a real book. I love to know how much I’ve read and how much I haved left.

      — Judson

      PS: I went right out and used my gift cards that very night.

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