Monday, July 18, 2011

Lacking bidders, Borders to liquidate

     The Chicago Tribune reported today that Borders Group Inc., the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain, said it has canceled an upcoming bankruptcy auction and will close its doors.
     First we saw the Mom & Pop bookshops close because they could not compete against the behemoths like Borders and Barnes & Noble. Now the giants are closing. They shot themselves in the foot!

     As a friend of mine posted: “Internet technology (Amazon) and e-readers have decreased their market share, making it difficult for them to survive. Borders didn't keep up with the times like Barnes and Noble did with their e-reader and Amazon with the Kindle. Those companies who don't anticipate the coming trends and innovations unfortunately get left behind.

    I can’t agree more.

    Let’s look back … just a few years. CDs came onto the market, but I held fast and refused to accept their replacing vinyl records, just because they were supposed to be indestructible. (Ha!) Besides, how was the recording industry going to get all that beautiful album cover art on those tiny little jewel cases? Although I still own my records and do occasionally listen to them on my stereo, eventually I found it difficult to find a store that sold new recordings on vinyl and had little choice. I went over to the dark side. Bought myself a CD player and CDs.

    Then, Sony Walkmans were all the rage, which in time, morphed into the inimitable, all-powerful IPod. I still don’t own an IPod because I am technically challenged.  I also don’t like buying things online. So, I am the only person in the gym working out without white earplugs hanging out of my ears. Don’t laugh at me; I know eventually I’ll own one of those, too.

    I do have a Nook, because a bank was courting me and gave it to me for free. I’ve only downloaded one novel – my own! Felt I was obligated to the author (me) to do so.

    But I really, really don’t want to go over to that dark side. I like the feel and the smell of books. I’m going to miss walking into bookstores and being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of printed (not digital) words. Taking my time and perusing through the shelves. Seeing my novel right under Grisham! Attending an author’s book signing. Just how are we supposed to autograph an e-book? I imagine they will eventually come up with an app. for that.

    So, not only did the big box stores shoot themselves in the foot, but we aided them by shopping there instead of the old Mom & Pop bookshops. I’m as much to blame as the next person: my novel is available on all e-reader formats, as well as paperback.

    You know… I really liked the old days. I think I’ll go drink a soda pop and listen to some scratchy albums on my stereo and reminisce.


  1. Yes, we've been going from Borders to Borders as they close to get the 'deals'!!!! The good news is...two of them are remaining I've heard...Nice blog!

  2. Really good blog. I certainly can relate to what you are saying. I, too am slow to change. No iPod in my near future. I'm used to the feel of real books but I have learned to at least download the free e-books onto my Kindle for PC. It isn't as cuddly as a book read in bed or on the couch but it does help me relate better to others in the virtual world. As a co-author, it was less expensive to go with the Amazon Kindle first then Amazon's Create Space Print on Demand a little later on.

    Of course, I'm sure Half Price Books will be available for a little longer time. They even have vinyl records for sale. You can browse and browse through the store and never know what treasure you might find.