We stopped in the Borders in Rogers, AR on the way home today. One of their smaller stores but it was a neat looking store. There was an upstairs where there was nothing but the coffee shop. All the chairs were turned upside down on the tables and there was a sign saying the coffee shop was closed for good. Reality sets in.
There was a line of people all the way across the front of the store waiting to check out. We weren’t going to wait that long for anything. Well, maybe that $650 cookbook at 80% off but there was really nothing discounted more than 20%. You could beat the prices at Amazon and maybe at Barnes and Noble. Maybe later when the discounting gets serious. We have one store in the KC area that is closing. Thankfully it’s not ours. I don’t see how Borders can survive for long though.
It looked like most of the people had one or two items in hand. What were they buying, souvenirs? It could find a half dozen books to buy in fifteen minutes if the they were truly discounted. Real book people would bring multiple book bags, bring suitcases, bring wheelbarrows to a real sale.
I hope the e-book is not the end of bookstores. On line music shopping rearranged music marketing. E-books will probably do something like that to book sales. But I hope we will still have big bookstores to go to. Bookstores are where you go to get a coffee, sit down with a stack of books and sample, where you visit with the barista, where you can catch snip-its of conversation from the other tables, where you make friends if only in passing, if only for a moment. A bookstore feels communal. You miss all that sitting in front of the computer in your pajamas and shopping for books. We need bookstores.
Bookstores are where you make discoveries.