Thursday, February 24, 2011
As industry experts have been suggesting for months, Borders recently filled for bankruptcy. How this goes, we'll have to wait and see, but part of their initial reorganization is to close a number of stores. Having been back to our last hometown in Colorado last week, one begins to imagine the scenario, for there they have already announced that store's closing. In this instance, it will leave a town of something like 75,000 people without a retail store aside from a small independent primarily devoted to textbook sales near a college campus. I'm a great believer in independent book stores, and this one received a great deal of my business when I lived there, but it attracts a small and focused customer base at best. The real result will be a continued movement towards on-line purchase and ebook purchases. The only brick and mortar option will be a Barnes and Noble (aside from a B & N on campus where almost no one but students venture) some twenty miles away. I know this is the inevitable movement of the industry, and I've voiced my qualms of chain book stores before, however, will we all want to move towards electronic books all the time or the environmental expense of warehouse to doorstep delivery as we support one behemoth on-line retailer. I want a world back with options, one with quirky, independent retailers who know their books and know their community. Somehow the likely failure of Borders is likely to make my wants more remote rather than more possible. With every retail collapse, be it a giant or an independent, how many readers does the market lose?