When I was a seminary student, I lived across the street from a Borders Bookstore. I spent a great deal of time there studying for class and browsing the stacks. In the mid 90’s, national chain bookstores like Borders seemed to be coming into their own. That is no more.
Yesterday Borders announced that it will be closing all of its stores by the end of September. The Associated Press reports that “It was brought down by heightened competition by discounters and online booksellers, as well as the growth in popularity of electronic books.”
I get a little sad every time one of these bricks and mortar sellers goes belly up. After Borders gives up the ghost, Barnes & Noble will be the only national bookstore chain left standing. Perhaps Barnes & Noble will survive the digital onslaught. We’ll see.
Well, we still have Books-A-Million too, according to Wikipedia now the second-largest chain in the nation after Borders’ announcement. I do hope they stay open. I think it says something when the digital age makes the national chain bookstores look like The Shop Around the Corner.
Barbara, I thought Books-a-Million was still open too. But the video report above says that B&N is the only one left. Maybe the report is incorrect. I don’t know how Books-a-Million is doing.
I’m not so sure this is a horrible thing. I buy my books online because of cost and ease of delivery. Further, shopping online allows me to examine more options, softcover or hardcover, particular editions, etc.
So if buying new books go completely online, I’m not really too saddened or surprised. However, have you been to some of the Used bookstores in town? They are flourishing. I drive past one at least once a week and their parking lot is usually full.
I don’t think bookstores themselves will go out of business for quite awhile, but buying new books will continue to occur online or electronically.
I share your consternation. There is one solution that immediately suggests itself: when you have a book to buy, go to a physical bookstore and buy it. Instead of instinctively ordering on Amazon, support a local bookstore.
Many of us who wring our hands about the death of bookstores should do our part to keep them alive.
good riddance. Borders, in the mid 90’s, stocked everything, buying in such huge quantities that they could get deep discounts from distributors, and they, along with Best Buy on the music side, put all (ok, most) of the mom and pops out of business, and then as soon as the competition was gone, stocked the place as if college freshmen and soccer moms were their only customers.
Luckily, I live pretty close to a ginormous city, so I still have some access to decent book and music stores. But for most of the folks that read this blog, it’s pretty slim pickins these days, and my blame lies squarely on places like Borders, Barnes and Noble and Wal-Mart.
The sooner they all go down the tubes, the better as far as I’m concerned.
And if your town does still have a mom and pop store, go support it.
guy who used to work at one of those mom and pops that got knocked off by Borders.
I don’t think B&N will go the way of Borders for 3 reasons:
1) B&N is more an “experience store” than a book store. Borders always felt big and bright and expensive while B&N is inviting, friendly, and a treasure hunt waiting to happen.
2) B&N has the Nook. One of Border’s failings is it couldn’t make money in the eBook world. B&N’s Nook, while not the most popular, is still a major player.
3) B&N.com. Their online store sells a lot of books. It’s no Amazon, but it’s still a main option for a lot of people – especially with the ability to end books to the store.
B&N has a rocky few years ahead, but they seem to be willing to keep what works and expand upon what’s new and changing. I hope they make it!
The downtown Nashville Borders store was closed earlier in the year. Interestingly, the Vanderbilt University bookstore is moving into the space and B&N is going to manage it for them. I’m looking forward to seeing how this is going to work out. I think B&N has entered into these kinds of partnerships with universities in other cities as well.