I can’t say I’d miss Borders the way I miss some independent bookshops. Still…Borders were great stores. We made friends at Borders, united through our in the trenches mentality. We looked forward to being there. The smell of fresh books was intoxicating. Fond memories of midnight release party for Harry Potter–more than 1,000 people attended–are still vivid in my mind. I enjoyed chatting with fellow-readers and feeding off our mutual love of literature. My kids, friends, and I spent endless hours there especially when we lived in California…epic center of our homeschooled lives.
True, I am likely a part of the problem with these huge bookstores…customers come in, spend hours browsing, and end up buying a small purchase and leaving. For stores to stay in business and keep the lights, air-conditioning, and bathroom turned on, I need to buy something more than a mocha latte for those two hours I killed entertaining my kids or even myself. The whole third-place concept pioneered by Starbucks only works if the overhead is tiny and their volume is high (coffee!) Borders couldn’t sustain the third-place model for long. 399 stores to close. 11,000 people will be out of job. The sad fact is that bookstores are on the way out. The same thing happened with video rental. A bunch of mom and pops had their stores, eventually Blockbuster and Hollywood Video bought them out…now Blockbuster has gone through bankruptcy. Same with record stores. The mom and pops got crushed. Then major leagues like Tower Records went out of business too.
I’ve always enjoyed finding new books to read at Borders, wherever my travel took me. Libraries are great but they don’t offer a good cup of coffee!
I know, I know. No surprise. People have been forecasting this for years. Still, I feel a jolt of sadness and whimsy for life back at the bookstore…leave me feeling disconcerted and disoriented.
What does it all mean to writers? To people like me who IMHO will never have a need for a kindle? Is there a future for bookstores? What ’bout other businesses?
Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!
(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…)