Borders Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in New York on Wednesday, a month after the operator of the Borders and Waldenbooks chains said it may have to restructure in bankruptcy court. Read More Here
This has been a long time coming, in my opinion. I worked for the bookstore chain for over a year and there were many struggles that were not just obvious to me but to shoppers. Hence the multiple newspaper articles over the past year guesstimating when Borders would file for bankruptcy or begin closing stores.
But what does this mean for the book world? Should we be fearful, as readers, that the idea of bookstores is beginning to die out? Is Amazon really gaining that much power? Or are people just not reading like they used to?
I don't know about you, but I like to browse books. I like to see the covers, hold the books in my hand, smell the pages, and flip through them. I like to collect a basket filled with books that I might buy, sit down with a cup of coffee, and make my way through each book to see which ones I'll purchase. I love that contact, that relationship with what I'll be buying, and I'm sorry but I can't have that through online vendors.
Now that doesn't mean I don't buy books online. I enjoy ordering a book and having it delivered straight to my house- if it's a book I already know I want. But typically, I'll end up going to a bookstore first. I'll go through the process of manhandling all of these books and making lists of what I want to buy in the future. The element of a bookstore is something of peace and relaxation for me. Aside from parks (which I can only visit when the weather is nice) I don't really have many other places that bring me that sense of peace.
While I know Borders has been struggling for years and this news is in no way surprising to me it does leave me worrying about the future of bookstores in general.