Friday, July 22, 2011

In Requiem: Borders Bookstore

I'm not a big fan of many things, although some things touch me deeply and got to the very core of who I am.  I do, however, love book stores.  I love to browse and to find new things.  I love the smell of a new book.  I love to lose myself in a good story.

I suppose these all reasons I decided to pursue fiction writing one day.  I was hoping to talk a place on the bookshelf with well-known, lesser-known, and mostly unknown writers (put me in that last category, thank you).

But as you probably all know the book store, Borders, is no more, at least as a physical place to go.  Their website is still there and you order books from them, but it is not the same.  Worse still, as a CNET article noted, the loss of Borders means that it is will be harder for new writers (like me) to be discovered.

I read that and sighed.  This is not something I want to hear.  It may be true; but don't tell me.

Borders is the victim of changing trends in the publishing world and too much debt (that seems to be a trend these days).  They were going to file for Chapter 11, but they couldn't find a buyer so they decided to fold instead.

What a shame.  This leaves only Barnes and Noble left standing and some independent small stores.  If I take a very selfish view here that probably means my books will never be on the bookshelf of any store because I suspect CNET is right.  If I take a broader view, as to the value bookstores bring to society as a whole, I see we are diminished because bookstore serves as a social gathering place.  For Borders this was true.  It was a place to get coffee, read a little, and browse book, movies, and music.  We need such places to learn, socialize, and enjoy ourselves.

You might argue there are other places like this, and that's true, but most libraries are most like museums than places for social gatherings and the bookstores that are left will find it harder to keep going I think.  They may even take fewer risks, offer less variety.  None of that is good.

So let us mourn the loss of Borders and try to support remaining bookstores we have.

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