7/22/2011

Internet Killed the Book-i-o-store

Borders is closing its doors.

This is sad on many levels. First amongst them is that in the immediate vicinity of my house we have only a Borders. The next closest bookstore is about 30 miles away, which I'll grant you is not terrible, but I'm just not going to drive that far, realistically. I'm hoping that Barnes & Noble will realize that we no longer have a bookstore locally and open up (hey, maybe in the same store - it's a great bookstore location!) a branch here. (You know, it just occurred to me - we do have a Books-A-Million nearby...but it's in the mall. There's very little that's going to entice me to try and park at the mall, so really, it might as well not be there. Plus, Books-A-Million always seems so...junky.)

That said, today I zipped over after my eye doctor appointment (more on that in another post at a later date) to see what there was to see on the first day of their closeout prices. Everything is 10% off. Some things are 30% off, and a very few things are in between. But honestly? The discount they're giving as part of their closeout is still more expensive than Amazon. And that right there is, I think, the crux of the problem.

Unless someone needs a book immediately (and honestly, how often does that really happen?), it's worth your time and money to just go online. Even if you end up paying cheaper shipping (though seriously, how hard is it to get over $25 on Amazon to get free shipping? I never seem to have trouble managing that.), the cheaper prices online are worth the few day wait for your product.

So while I'm sad to lose a place to browse books and drink coffee, I can't honestly say it's going to impact my book buying habits much. Honestly, I've probably been largely to blame for the failure of Borders (and people like me - not just me individually, mind you. I buy books, yes, but not on that large a scale. Though Tim might actually disagree with that statement.) Over the past five-ish years, I've used the bookstore as a place to go and browse and flip through or read a chapter prior to purchasing online. Because to me, price is still king, and for whatever reason, the brick and mortar stores just aren't willing or able to match (or hey, beat!) the online price.

And now that I'm a Kindle junkie (I admit it, I'm a convert), there's even less reason to go and browse because I can download a sample before I buy. Plus, with Kindle, all I have to do is buy a bigger hard drive as I accumulate more books, hard drives are considerably easier to store than bookcases.

Farewell, Borders. I will miss you. Just perhaps not as much as I would have a few years ago. And I'll see you again before you're completely gone, in the hopes that what's left on your shelves will be 1) marked down in a more "going out of business" style and 2) worth buying after being miserably picked over.

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