If you’ve been paying any attention to the US book industry, you probably know that Borders Books has been in trouble for a while and is now filing for bankruptcy. Apparently, 200 Borders stores are closing (here’s a list for the interested).
I was very relieved to find that my local Borders has escaped the ax. Aside from a couple of used stores and a college bookstore I never visit (parking is such a pain), Borders is all we have in the way of bookstores in our area. There are things I don’t like about it, of course. They put the the YA bookcases around a rectangular area, and I never figured out where A was, or how the rows of books were ordered (wrap around each bookcase? go around the inside and then the outside?). I don’t like the media tie-in books in the children’s department–I’d love to be able to let the kids choose their own books, but not when Star Wars DK Readers and Disney’s Princesses are in the running (yes, I have strong opinions about turning books into advertisements). I find it inexplicable that they often stock only part of a series, especially in SFF.
On the other hand, I love their discount area–it’s a goldmine for cheap workbooks and encyclopedia-type books for children, not to mention treasuries of poems, nursery rhymes, picture books, and classics. I found some lovely coffee-table art and history books there, too. We print 40% off coupons almost every month. The store is spacious and light, the cafe nice, the restrooms clean (yes, that sort of stuff matters to me).
But what they mainly have going for them is books. Lots and lots of books, on lots and lots of shelves, on lots and lots of topics. Bookstores are my happy place. On my last birthday I asked for–and got–a whole morning to myself in Borders. No kids, no distractions, just me and books (and a cafe lunch) for several hours. Amazon is hugely convenient, but sometimes I just need to be around physical books–the more, the better.
Have the Borders closings impacted (or will impact) you in any way?