Thursday, February 17, 2011

The fall of a giant

(Forgive me if I'm rambling!)
Upon hearing about Borders filing for bankruptcy, some numbers stuck out to me:

200 -- The approximate numbers of stores to be closed. There's a rumor that all of the superstores in Milwaukee will be closing. All stores in Austin, Texas will close. Several of the stores set for closure are in New York, including one that I frequent. Noooooooooooooo!!! This particular store I loved to visit often. Sometimes I didn't even buy anything. Like most book lovers, I can easily lose a few hours browsing the shelves. I plan to go there soon before it closes.

6,000 -- The approximate number of people who will lose their jobs because of this. It's already hard out there to find a job, and Borders isn't helping. Plus, with all of those stores closing, that's a lot of empty retail space. That's going to impact the owners of those spaces. What if they can't find another tenant? What about the adjacent stores next to these Borders? They will also lose customers. Borders filing for bankruptcy doesn't just impact the company and its employees. A lot more people could lose their livelihood.

$182 million -- The combined amount Borders owes to publishers, including $41. 1 million alone owed to Penguin. Borders stopped paying publishers in late 2010. It makes me wonder how this company will survive if they damage relationships with publishers?

I know some people don't care because they have e-readers, or they shop online or at indie stores. But I care. There aren't a lot of book stores in my neighborhood. Not a single one is in walking distance. In addition to my review books, Borders has been my source for books. I know some people don't have a lot of sympathy for big chain stores like Borders because they put so many mom and pop stores out of business. However, I think Borders filing for bankruptcy is sad. Not enough people are reading as it.

With their downfall it makes me wonder about the future of reading? Is reading dying down or is the culture of reading change? It's more that the culture is changing and Borders wasn't fully prepared. I know they tried to adapt by selling music and DVDS, and including cafes in their stores. But apparently that wasn't enough. With the ability to have thousands of books at the touch of your fingertips on your smartphone, Kindle, iPod, Kobo, or Nook, is it really necessary to have bookstores? To that I say yes!! There is something that an electronic device can't replace, the feel, touch and relaxing feeling that comes with browsing a bookstore.


  1. I am ridiculously sad about Borders - I really hope that they can somehow make a come back. Unfortunately, I think it's just because of how technology-loving people are today: Why go to a bookstore when you can DL an e-book to your e-reader, or laptop, or cell phone?

    I personally really dislike the e-reader movement, because I don't like downloading things - I like to own TANGIBLE objects, especially my beloved books. And I have the Borders Rewards Plus membership, which is awesome and I save a lot of money there - sometimes even more than I would on Amazon.

    I'm going to try to go to my local Borders this weekend and use up some of my paycheck :) Just to show I'm still rooting for them!

  2. I'm going next week to my local Borders. There have to be some sales there. When it's gone, it's going to be so sad.

  3. Hi! Just stopping in...

    I think there is reason to be concerned. When asked where cities should cut/save money, many people voted to shut down or cut the budgets of their libraries. I think books are more under-appreciated than ever.

    I own an e-reader (sorry) but I can't let it go. It is so convenient. Borders needs to put out their own e-reader so that they won't lose money from people who don't buy paper books as often.

    Love your blog!

  4. Cutting the library budget should never be an option. That really sucks that some people think it is. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I find it sad to hear that these bookstore giants are closing shop. Will that lead to more smaller individually owned bookstores? Or will it lead to fewer bookstores, period? I hope it is not the latter. I love to browse in bookstores. It is relaxing and the smells, the feel of the books, the shelves lined with new stories untold. I truly hope the ways of the internet and ereaders and ebooks don't/can't impact that which we love so dearly. What will this mean for libraries?

    I now follow you on networked blogs. Hop by when you have a chance.

  6. Hi! I'm a new follower. This is so depressing. Even though I don't normally shop at Borders-I'm more of an amazon and B&N girl, it still is sad. I'm also completely freaking out about the future of books. I so do not want the digital books to take over hardcopies. Don't get me wrong, I love my kindle but only because when i'm too lazy to get out of bed to go to the book store I can just purchase it on my kindle (also when it is cheaper)...but I much prefer the smell and well just about everything about a hardcopy.
    Hope you have a great weekend :)

    Caroline @ Bon Bons and Reveries