Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Borders to go Bye Bye

I have mixed feeling about this. While I’m inclined to blame the slow-to-catch-up publishing industry, big chain bookstores themselves have made some blunders that have contributed to their epic fail. Part of me hopes this will make more room for the brick and mortar/mom-n-pop stores of old that have decreased significantly in the last, oh, fifteen years thanks to places like Borders (and Amazon, I know). Sadly, I don’t think that’ll happen.

So while Borders represented what was wrong with our big big big consumerist culture, I was never opposed to Borders or Barnes and Noble. I lamented that these mega stores meant shrinking indie shops, but I was thrilled to know that lots of books were within reach. And I would have killed for a place like Borders in my suburb when I was growing up. Sadly, I was forced to make do with Waldenbooks. I didn’t even have the internet to fall back on.

Speaking of the internet: are they to blame? Perhaps, but I’m also happy to live in an era where I can easily research authors I might never have heard of by patronizing Borders. Even in their heyday I might not have discovered Dubravka Ugresic or Raul Zurita by wandering through a mega store’s shelves. So I’m not about to blast the net either. American provincialism? Maybe. The demands of commerce and the reality of consumer tastes? Okay, a litte. Whatever the reason, Borders is on its way out and that, frankly, makes me a little sad. I always try to hit the Seminary Coop or some of the few used shops left, but it looks like I’ll have to depend more on the internet than I’d like to for my books.