Friday, July 22, 2011


A Farewell to Borders.

Borders is no more. It has gone through the bankruptcy/receivership/close-down progression and as of today, will have closed the doors of the entire fleet.

This is regrettable for two reasons. Firstly, because of the 10,000 employees who are now out of jobs and as we know, this is not a great time to be on a job hunt. Secondly, it's yet another blow to the publishing industry, one that's taken too many hits over the past few years.

I can't believe it was 40 years ago that Borders started this big box bookstore phenomena. We watched as it grew, Barnes & Noble became its main competitors, and all too many independents were forced to close their doors. Then came Chapters, now Chapters/Indigo and the gift store/bookstore it's morphed into.

In fact, any indies that are still around, on either side of the border, must now re-visit how they sell books. The bottom line is, retail is no place for wimps.

I remember when I owned an indie, a very savvy sales rep predicted as big box bookstores seemed to be taking over the world, that they would peak and then the long slide downhill would begin. And it has. But it's not because the customers began flocking back to the smaller guys. It's because business is business. Either you sell your product and make a profit or your fold.

The thought is that Borders didn't get on the e-book bandwagon quickly or efficiently enough. Who knew? E-books and readers got off to a very slow start although they'd been predicted to be instant best-sellers. Now, they've sparked and are revolutionizing the industry. And leaving many publishers and distributors hurting. And, Borders. Although, remains open for business.

But nothing can beat a bookstore with honest-to-goodness paperback and hardbacks on masses of bookshelves. Nothing!

The hope is that the remaining independents will be able to dig in and find creative ways in which to sell books -- I mean the paper kind. I know, I'll always be a customer.

I owned a Kobo Touch for 2 days. The 'touch' factor was driving me nuts, being a person of little patience. So, back it went. Nor did I enjoy reading from the screen which should not have been a surprise, because I truly dislike reading stories on even a computer screen. But I know there are many of you who have embraced this new technology and it's here to stay.

I think it's great we have so many choices, at present anyway. Paper books, e-books. Brick & mortar stores, on-line selling. Take your pick.

The casualties, like Borders, should make us all rush out and buy a book today.

Because even though it was big box, it sold books...and where would we be without books? And bookstores?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April, 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime


  1. Stirring post, Linda. We lost our last independent bookstore in Oakville this year, to my sorrow. After years decrying the big box stores, it seems very strange to be mourning the demise of one. Yet here I am doing exactly that.

  2. I know what you mean, Melodie. At one time, I would have found this good news.
    Thanks for the comment.

  3. We definitely need to support them, because a wonderful way of encountering books will be lost if we let them slip away.