With the news that Borders filed for bankruptcy, I started thinking about the Borders that I went to when I was younger, back when a giant huge bookstore was a luxury I’d never experienced. There were fireplaces! And big huge chairs! And more books than I’d ever seen in my life, and the employees were friendly as opposed to condescending like the people in the local bookstore near my house who never had any good chapter books for kids.
Colleen Lindsay was saying that if the local Borders near her brother’s home closes, there won’t be a bookstore for 35 miles. As part of their bankruptcy, Borders will likely close 200 stores, which means a lot of people will lose their bookstore.
UPDATE: This is a link to a PDF of all the Borders stores scheduled to close.
Meanwhile, last Sunday, my husband wanted to take our younger son to the library, only to find that due to budget cuts it was closed – despite the website listing it as open that day. So, since my younger son is 3 and he wanted BOOKS PLEASE DADDY, they went to Barnes and Noble. It was a horrible shopping trip because the books were a marginal focus, since the minute you step in the door it was TOYS TOYS TOYS. Hubby said he wouldn’t take the kids back there again because it was so unpleasant, and books were not the focus. Toys and games and gifts were.
The floorplan of big bookstores is changing to include things other than books. Yesterday, at Tools of Change (larger entry about the conference coming, yes, with drinking game since I’m sure many people need it), the Indie bookseller panel was asked about what will happen when Borders goes bankrupt or closes some if not all of their stores.
Their answer was, it will leave a hole, and a smart bookseller can help fill it, through doing what those indie booksellers already do: building communities locally and online, and offering something unique that’s more than just selling books. Now, these indies, Greenlight Books and WORDBrooklyn, are among my favorites because they are familiar and curious about romance fiction (as opposed to some Indie folks who look at the genre and at romance readers as if we carry some papercut-inducing disease, as I’ve heard from some readers).
But there is room for the hole left by Borders to be filled, as they put it.
So let me ask you, as a reader: where is your nearest bookstore? Do you shop there? Do you have a Borders near you, and do you shop there? If your store closes, does it affect you? And what could a physical bookstore do to lure you as a customer now?
And to Borders employees who face job loss: I’m so sorry this is happening.