On the Borders Closings

22 Jul

Last week, Borders’ last-ditch efforts to remain open fell through, and on Thursday, the bankruptcy judge overseeing the case approved the Borders Group’s plan to liquidate.  Which means, sadly, that the majority of the 399 remaining stores will close, and close to 11,000 bookstore employees will lose their jobs.  A handful of stores might get picked up by Books-a-Million, but Borders as we knew it will be gone by September.

I’ve stated before:  any loss of a bookstore is tragic.  While I haven’t seen people jumping with glee about the Borders news, anyone who does is an asshat.  Analyzing what went wrong is fine — I’m guessing the rise and fall of Borders will be a college course someday.  But if you meet anyone who thinks it’s awesome that they’re gone, find a heavy book and hit them with it for me.

With the liquidation sales beginning, I find myself torn when talking about it with others.  I can understand the desire to go to a closing store and show some support while (bonus!) getting books for cheap.  I also wonder if that might not be money better spent at a new venue.  At the next-closest local bookstore, or in some other locally owned and operated establishment — a bakery or a print shop or a store filled with knick-knacks.  If we don’t support them now, they might not stick around.

If you’re losing your local Borders, my condolences to you.  Every store is its own unique community, and what you found there might not be easily replicated at the bookstore the next town over.  Still, I urge you to keep your sales flowing into bricks-and-mortar stores.  If you’re not sure what’s nearby, the search function at IndieBound is excellent.  Should the next-closest store be impossibly far away, a gentle reminder that most indies support online ordering these days.  Sure, you can’t put toothpaste and a Three-Wolf Moon tee shirt on the same order, but you’re supporting a small business.

And, if the loss of Borders is driving you to make the switch from dead-tree books to e-books, remember that you can purchase Google ebooks through your friendly indie bookstore, too, and download them onto any device except the Kindle.  I’m happy to point you at bookstores who sell Google ebooks, if you’re curious.

Do you have a Borders near you?  How does the closing affect you and your future book-buying?

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3 Responses to “On the Borders Closings”

  1. Lilivati July 22, 2011 at 1:36 am #

    All the Borders near me have been closed for months already. We actually picked up two bookcases through the first to close, which vastly aided our personal library. (They look better than you’d initially expect in a residential environment.)

    We are however fortunate to live in a city and have near enough to us two Barnes & Noble stores, as well as two Half Price Books and several other smaller bookshops (mostly small independent secondhand stores). So I’m not going to be hurting for brick and mortar options.

    In theory anyway. I couldn’t help but notice when I was in one of the B&Ns I had not visited in some time recently that the store had been rearranged to make much more room for seasonal merchandise (in this case back to school books and materials) and several sections of interest to me had shrunk by two or more shelves. It was rather disappointing and disturbing both.

    I like going to a bookstore and flipping through the volumes as I browse, and I vastly prefer the look and feel of real books to ebooks. But if I can’t find the book I’m looking for at even a very large brick and mortar store because apparently the things I like to read don’t pay the bills, I’m not really certain I have good options left.

  2. Tami July 22, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    I’d love to get some recommendations on indie bookstores to google ebooks through. I checked with Madison’s local home-grown and they don’t have the option yet.

  3. Steve Hall (Kestrel) July 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    We’re losing our only remaining major bookstore when Borders closes. Our biggest booksellers will now be Target and Walmart.

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