Wednesday, July 20, 2011

RIP Border's

Border’s is closing.

You already knew that. But as I listened to the news and the analysis of what and where and why again yesterday, it got me to thinking. The news stories talk about debt and losses and other financial things that don’t make any sense to me. But there’s more to the story than that.

For instance, I got an email this morning as part of the Border’s Rewards program. It said something about converting Nook files to some other format and storing them. Since I do not have a Nook (or a Kindle for that matter), I didn’t pay much attention, but I wonder if the chain going out of business is somehow going to hurt all the electronic book files of the people who already have Nooks. Anybody out there know?

There are also–and much more importantly–all the people who are going to be out of jobs. This is what I feel worst about and if you’re one of them and you’re reading this, my sympathies and good thoughts are headed your way. I’ve met some fabulous Border’s employees over the years and I wish you the best. Thank you for being there for authors, for helping us get our stories into the hands of readers who love and appreciate them.

What most consumers don’t realize is that Border’s closing is also having an impact on authors. Did you know that print runs are down significantly? That means publishers aren’t putting out as many of any one title as they were before this turmoil. They say they will again. After the dust setttles. And yes, readers who once got our books at Border’s will find other places to buy them. But until then, fewer books = less royalties = less income for authors. Not a pretty thought.

What sort of bookstore will take Border’s place? I suppose there are smart marketing people out there who have their theories. Me? I’d like to see the small independent stores rise to prominence again. Sure, coffee shops and gift and cards are fun to have alongside books, but there’s nothing like a staff that knows and loves books–and knows their clientele as well.

Until then, like publishers, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when the dust settles.


Sharon said...

This just makes me sad. I visit the local Borders every Friday. Now where will I go? I guess Barns and Noble, but I always loved Borders stores more. They had the coolest cards, stationary, novelty items. I did a lot of my gift buying there.

You would think they could keep open their online store. I think online paper book buying was helping to kill the actual stores too. It is so much easier to click and have a book shipped to my doorstep than dealing with traffic, gas prices and what not...

Casey said...

Yeah, I do think online shopping has hurt "real" stores. How can it not? And you're right, Sharon, so much eaiser to sit here in my jammies and order what I want/need. So when you think about it, it makes can these business continue to exist when they're funding both online stores and physical shops where no one is shopping because they're shopping online? (Does that last sentence make any sense?)

My friend, Shelley, and I always meet at Border's for coffee. We love listening to the tap, tap, tap of the tiles from the ladies who play Mah Jong at the next table. Now what?

Angie Fox said...

Yes, a group of author friends and I meet at Borders a few times a month to talk about what we're writing and to (of course) indulge our book buying habits. The people who work at "our" store are absolutely wonderful.

It's just such a shame that they have to close. Frankly, I'm still surprised that it actually had to come down to this.

SandyG265 said...

My local borders was one that was hit by the first round of closings. I used to go there a couple of times a month since it was only a quater of a mile from my house. I haven't been to a bookstore since it closed since the nearest is now 20 minutes away.

I'm still buying some books on line - mostly by authors I'm familiar with. Otherwise I've been using the library more. Letting a major chain close has to have a big impact on the publishing industry.

unseelieme said...

To me, the end of Borders is the Apocalypse. I feel like I need to run out and buy every print book I can before they're gone. It's horrible!

I talked about some of the Borders news on my own blog. I've noticed here in southeastern MA that the Borders stores (there are 6 within 40 mins of me) have had fewer and fewer books. And neither B&N near me are carrying a lot of urban fantasy books (adult and teen). When I asked for a particular title, I was told that the publisher had done a smaller printing & they would not be carrying the book in stores - but "have you seen our Nook? If you have one of those you could download it right now." They now have 1/4 of their store devoted to the sale and display of Nooks. I think its in anticipation of their own physical store demise.

I hope that doesn't happen. I can't imagine a world without actual hold-in-your-hand-and-smell-the-ink-and-paper books.

As for book transfers, it's not a big deal. I have a Cruz Reader (from Borders). I basically downloaded the Kobo app and it automatically transferred the Borders app books over to Kobo files. I don't know if its the same for the Nook or the Kindle, but I suspect it is. Kobo, btw, is separate from Borders and from what I've read, it shouldn't be affected. Still, I'll be buying my (gah) ebooks from Amazon. I like their site better.

The Panda Bear said...

I was wondering-I have a Kobo eReader. I was wondering if I could get books from Amazon with it. If you can how is it done?

Casey said...

Sorry, Panda Bear, I can't help. I don't know a thing about e-readers! I'll be someone else here might!

Sharon said...

Just heard that Books-A-Million is buying some of the store (30-ish). So maybe I will still have a bookstore to go to

The Panda Bear said...

My KoboEreader broke within the store's thirty day return policy so I returned it to Best Buy and bought a Nook. You cah also downlaod books from the libary which is impotant to me.