Friday, March 18, 2011

Your (Pretty Much) Weekly Borders Update

It's been about a week since we last checked in on the tale of pity and woe that is Borders Books, so here's an update. As of yesterday, it's been announced that 28 additional Borders Super Stores will be closing by late May.

I mentioned earlier that this would likely be the case, and I'm sure there will be yet another round of store closings before the end of the fiscal year.

You can check out the latest list of store closings right here. This list hits close to home, literally, for me, as now every Borders in my home state will be out of business by the end of May, including the store in my hometown.

Back in the 90s, that store bought out another chain store to move into a giant retail location right in the center of town. In doing so, it effectively killed off the wonderful little independent bookshop that lived for many years in the same shopping plaza, down in the corner.

Come June, there won't be any bookstores in the plaza.

In fact, all that will be left in my hometown is a Barnes & Noble in the mall, and a library that's hurting for money.

Sure, the Barnes & Noble will be fine for most people, but it's sad to me that so many kids today are growing up without the presence of books.

When I was growing up, I was literally surrounded by bookstores. There were two (and, at one point, three) in the mall alone. There was the aforementioned and wonderful independent shop in the center of town. And there was Borders.

Now we're down to a single store.

Which is wrong, on many levels. I know digital is being heralded as the new king, but from what I've seen, at least, that's not yet the case.

At one of the other soon-to-close Borders stores in my area, I took advantage of their closing sale. I bought a couple of nice hardcovers for 50% off. But that's not the important thing.

When I went to the counter, I saw people.

People buying lots and lots of books.

I started talking to the soon-to-be-unemployed cashier. "Ya know," I said. "These prices--with all the discounts--are pretty much the exact same thing as when I use my Rewards card."

She sighed, nodded in agreement, and smiled. "Tell me about it. Even before this location officially announced its closing, I had people coming in spending $300. If people just did this in the last couple of years, we wouldn't have a problem."

So true.

From what I've seen, it's impossible--IMPOSSIBLE--to argue that people don't want books. Real, actual, physical copies of books.

They just don't want to pay full price for them.

It's time for the publishers to wake up to this. Instead of the publishers waiting around and studying trends to see how the landscape will change, it's time for the publishers to change the landscape.

Lower your costs. Lower your prices. And never stop making books.


DandyDanD said...

Agreed; I love purchasing and reading books, but traditional bookstore prices are much too pricey.

Frugal Muse Books does somewhat better than most stores, but the gap between authors who can't make a living and readers who want fair prices is a shame.

AJG said...

"...the gap between authors who can't make a living and readers who want fair prices is a shame."

Well said, Daniel.

And thanks for the link--Frugal Muse looks like a great store.