Jon Gibbs (jongibbs) wrote,
Jon Gibbs
jongibbs

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What's your take on the Borders bookstore bankruptcy thing?

When the news came that Borders Books Store had [finally] gone into bankruptcy and would be closing about 200 of it's stores, I found myself conflicted. Of course, I feel bad for the poor folks who'll be out of a job, just as I would if any other company went bust, who wouldn't? That said, I just can't empathize with many of the blog posts, Tweets and articles which came soon after, lamenting the passing of a giant in the industry and fretting about the state of today's publishing world.

First, as I understand it, Borders owes a lot of money to small publishers, most of which will probably never get paid now the company's in bankruptcy. Some of the big companies, like Wiley (who've written off $9m in debt), have already accepted they won't get what they're owed and moved on. That's very noble of them (no bookstore pun intended). It must be great to have the finances to take that kind of a hit, I hope I'm wrong on this, but I can't help wondering how many small press publishers will find themselves in financial difficulties because Borders decided paying them wasn't important enough? Sure they may get part (or even all) of their money, but not soon enough for some.

Second, although I have a big Borders store closeby, I can't remember the last time I bought a book in there. Don't get me wrong, I buy a lot of books, many of them in person from the author at book fairs/cons and other events, but I order most of my books online these days. Why go all the way to a bookstore only to be told to come back next week because they have to order what you want, when you could have stayed home and ordered it online yourself.  

Whatever the nostalgic vision of the Borders that once was, for a long time now it's been a store that sells mostly books rather than a book store. The last time I went in to my local Borders was December 2009. I bought a CD. I could just as easily have bought a board game or a greetings card. I love the smell and feel of a book, but if I want to browse the shelves, I go to a my local library. They need my support more than Borders or Barnes & Noble.

How about you?

What's your take on the Borders bookstore bankruptcy thing?

Poll #1709020 Borders

What's your take on the Borders bookstore bankruptcy thing?

I feel bad for the folks losing their jobs, but I rarely (if ever) shop there, so it doesn't affect me.
14(28.6%)
Big bookstores are extinct, they just don't know it yet.
5(10.2%)
I buy most of my books from Borders. I'll miss them.
4(8.2%)
I used to buy from the big bookstores, but not for a while now.
3(6.1%)
I have as much sympathy for Borders as they had for the small bookstores they put out of business.
11(22.4%)
Borders has gone bankrupt?
2(4.1%)
Something else, which I'll mention in the comments.
10(20.4%)

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