Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sad About Borders

Like many people in the book world, I was very sad to hear that Borders filed for bankruptcy last week and has started closing 200 stores. I've been lucky to have four locations between my home and my work, but, sadly, three of those four locations are now going to shut their doors.

I love Borders. It's my chain bookstore of choice. I have had some iffy customer service experiences with B&N, and the YA section of my local B&N is just sadly lacking. They never have what I want or need, and when I have a B&N GC, I end up having to visit several locations to use to whole thing up. I just never feel at home at B&N like I do at Borders. I think I would be bummed if I heard that it was B&N declaring bankruptcy and closing stores, because any time a bookstore closes it is a sad thing, but I wouldn't be upset like I am with these Borders closings. It wouldn't impact my life the way this does.

The Borders I am going to miss the most the store near my school. I frequently stop in that store after work to pick up a book, and I love running into my kids there. I see them all the time, because this is the only bookstore that is local to my students. Now, when it closes, they won't have a close bookstore. They won't have somewhere they can easily stop by when running errands with their parents. Books will be more difficult for them to get their hands on...and that SUCKS. It's hard enough to get them to choose  a book over their various other distractions, but now it will be that much more of a challenge. Shopping online is fine for us as adults, but the kids don't really have their own credit cards for easy online shopping. Going to a different store is no big deal for us, but the kids don't all drive or have cars. It makes me sad that they aren't going to have this easy access to books anymore.

And I know it's kind of ridiculous, but, you know how people daydream about their Oscar acceptance speeches? Or mentally plan their visit to Oprah? I always imagined that my launch party for my debut novel would be at this Borders. A bunch of my students would be there, and my co-workers, there would be food, and it would be so much fun. So, when I heard this store was closing last week, I had to let go of that little dream...probably just like a lot of people had to do when Oprah announced that she was in her last season. I know it's a silly thing, since I haven't even started querying agents yet, but it was just that little mental picture that would push me along on days I was feeling low.

It's not like there is no longer a bookstore near me. It's not like there isn't even a Borders near me...the one close to my house isn't closing, so I still have one within a 10 minute drive. But my special store is closing, and the special stores for people all over the country are closing, and that makes me so sad.

I really hope that Borders can survive this financial hard time and turn things around. I'd hate to see more stores close and more people lose access to books. Hang in there, Borders!

(Hey, if your local Borders is closing, now would be a great time to shop indie!)


  1. I feel the same way. My local store closed. I loved that store and now I have to drive about 25 min to get to one. It makes me sad. I went there the other day and it was a wreck. Heartbreaking.

  2. It really sucks when it's your store. If you're like me, you go so often that you know the people that work there. No one wants to see people they know lose their jobs.

    I think you hit a key point about book access and kids. Children need more exposure to books, not less, and the closing of bookstores isn't going to help that issue. Hopefully there'll be some indies step up to fill the void.

    Nice to meet you (in blog format!),


  3. I hate what this means, that there will be 200 fewer bookstores out there. It's sad. I don't feel the same way as you, but that's just because I go to B&N. (My sister's a manager there and she'd slay me if I shopped at Borders instead.) I just hope they're able to bounce back. Because this affects everything. Pimp My Novel had a great breakdown on how it affects not only book buyers but also authors.

  4. It's sad to see abandoned buildings. Blockbuster video is dead too so chalk that up on the list of empty lots with grass growing knee-high out front.

  5. Two of my five local Borders stores are closing. One is my favorite (in downtown Indianapolis).

    When your launch party day comes, I'm sure your students will still come out and support you, wherever you are! And while it is sad that they no longer have a neighborhood bookstore, at least they have a teacher with an awesome classroom library to help them discover books they might like. :)

  6. I'm sorry, Jess, for you and your students.

  7. My local Borders isn't closing but my back up Borders is and it sucks, makes me so sad.

    Also, I may or may not be still recovering from the impending loss of my Oprah's Book Club appearance.

  8. I was soooooo upset about Borders too! I literally camp there most days of the week for my book fix. I thought it was only a problem in the US, but it's affecting the Australian stores pretty badly too :( I really hope it makes a recovery. It'll be like losing my 2nd home :(

  9. It is a terribly sad situation for everyone in publishing to see Borders close. :(

  10. The Borders near my office closed last year and now all I have is B&N. I just went there this afternoon for the first time (been avoiding it) and the YA section was SO small, I couldn't even find it! I had to ask. It was a little pathetic. Two shelves a two small displays: "what's new" and "tough stuff".

  11. I'm bummed too. :( I really hope they are able to bounce back. The Borders in NYC (where I live) weren't that convenient for me so I tend to shop at indies or B&N. But it still stinks.