The End of Borders, Bookstore That Is.

The Borders bookstore in Reno, NV on 7/19/2011, a day after the liquidation announcement.

Borders is finally liquidating and going out of business. It was already in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy since February, but now they’re clearing out their stock (probably starting Friday, July 22), laying off 10,700 of their employees, and closing all their stores across the US. This was announced on Monday at the end of the business day, at their headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Here’s the letter from Border’s CEO to his employees about the current situation.I’ve been waiting for this to happen for the last year and a half, and now it has. Another chain bookstore gone from the US and now fewer places for people to buy books new. So what?

Now that Borders is closing, there’s just going to be less opportunity to get to books for many people. Sure, you can get books in Wal-Mart or Target, but most of those are the “best sellers” with a few religious books, some current non-fiction, novels of various genres, and juvenile and children’s books. Bookstores have more than just the best-sellers and safe books- they even have books that could elicit thought and other dangerous activities. What activities? Like having a conversation with other people not on a computer; buying a calendar that’s not fuzzy kitties or of historic lighthouses; browsing through stacks of books to find something you didn’t know that you really needed; being able to buy foreign magazines and newspapers, and just newspapers and magazines in general (in Reno, Borders had the best newsstand in town); and being able to go somewhere and have coffee and read and spend an afternoon in a relaxing, quiet place.

There is a solution to this dilemma. The thing to do is to support local bookstores more now and buy book from them. Reno has a great independent new bookstore, Sundance Books, and several good used bookstores, Zephyr Books and even Grassroots Books. Sure- there’s the Internet and buying books online, which I do. But, if you can find a book locally, why not buy it and keep your money where it can circulate in your own community and do more. Keep buying books locally and keep reading, and thinking.

The strangest thing for me is this: I went over to Borders to take some pictures of the outside for this piece and it looked like it’s always been since it opened: with people sitting in the café drinking coffee, meeting and reading, media bought and sold, and people milling around and going here and there. There are no notes, banners, signs, or anything to tell customers that Borders will soon be out of business.

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5 responses to “The End of Borders, Bookstore That Is.”

  1. Kyle Weiss says:

    On a side note, hopefully the staff will be able to find work. 10K people suddenly laid off sucks. We may hate the chains, but they do bring jobs–and take them away when they leave. Here in Reno, that may only equate to 100 or so people, but I doubt the book stores here are likely to take them all on. Good luck to ’em.

  2. Blake Crosby says:

    I don’t have total faith in the advancement of technology, but I’m one to pine about the loss of traditions like physical book stores especially when they’re corporate chains. Physical stores take up land, energy, and resources that can be allocated elsewhere. I’ve never talked to strangers at a bookstore. I find that intrusive and creepy. Amazon now makes it possible to browse through the table of contents and first few pages of a book and their consumer reviews are priceless compared to a bookstore clerk who may or may not be literate. If I want to sit in a coffee shop, there are coffee shops outside of bookstores. Technology simply moves our behavior from one venue to another, one mode to another. Take music stores. Who cares that they are gone? I’ve found more music on the Internet and it’s really nice that I get to sample all the songs on an album instead of buying one album for one song in it and finding out all the other songs bite donkey. And let’s get rid of paper books once and for all with the cost of transportation and dead trees and chemically treated paper. Who gives a f k you can’t feel pages. Solution: buy an ereader and every time you turn the page, get an old book and turn its page too. oooooh the feel of a book. whatever

  3. Blake Crosby says:

    I’m NOT the one to pine about the loss of traditions…

  4. Kyle Weiss says:

    Let’s just burn books. I liked that tradition, too.

  5. Joseph Pearl says:

    About the gift cards, it would seem that they did what they could by putting a notice in multiple nationally published newspapers. I’m quite sure Border’s bankruptcy lawyer advised them appropriately. It must be noted that it appears unduly burdensome and expensive to have to notify each individual card holder as I’m not sure Borders could contact each of the card holders individually if they tried. On the other hand, it’s the type of situation where a lawyer could make a lot of money building a class action suit.

    Thank you for covering this. This is important information to know for my practice as a Bankruptcy Attorney.

    Joseph S. Pearl, LL.M. – A Professional Law Corporation
    1400 Chester Ave., Suite C
    Bakersfield, CA 93301

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