Well, I’m a bit late getting to this particular piece of news, but it’s been rocking the literary world, so I guess I’ll chime in. Borders is out of business. Closing. Done. Congratulations, Barnes and Noble, you now have a monopoly in my area. It’s either you or Amazon now. And I don’t like shopping online for my books.
This means I can no longer buy a book and then go get some Cold Stone, because that’s a Borders in that plaza. Darn.
But what does this mean for the book industry in general? Well, it means that a) Borders is terrible at doing business. They only came out with an e-reader last year, far behind anyone else. Also b) it scares me just a little. Because, yes, most people know that Borders is not the best place to shop at. But it was still a bookstore, right? It still got business from me. So does this mean other places will start going too? Will Barnes and Noble also go bankrupt? Will I have NOWHERE to browse anymore???
Not necessarily. I think the book industry, and the practice of actual STORES for books, is far from over. You can’t browse books online. You can’t find that long-neglected novel online, the one that’s terrific but doesn’t get much publicity. The Internet is just not a good replacement for the actual store, for finding that one book that is really good but just never got much publicity. Bookstores are a place of discovery, a place to just be surrounded by hundreds of novels, and to me, that’s one of the best places in the world to be. You can’t get that sort of experience from your home computer.
So, while we lament the loss of many a good store, we don’t have to mourn the death of the book quite yet. There are still plenty of stores out there, still plenty of books being published in print. I know people are saying that this incident is a picture of what is to come, but really that’s just silly. You can’t say music is going to disappear because a singer falls out of the spotlight.
Yes, we have e-readers now. Yes, we can order our books on the Internet. But people still like to actually go into a store and be surrounded by bright covers and the smell of paper and coffee.
This isn’t the end of that. It’s just the end of Borders.