With today’s announcement that Borders will close the last of its 399 stores, I couldn’t help but wonder, does this mean the return of independent bookstores? I can’t say I’m exactly sad to see Borders go as I’ve always been a huge supporter of the smaller, mom-and-pop bookstores, but I do feel for the Borders employees who will lose their jobs.
The closing of Borders represents the larger picture of the changing book industry and I don’t like the direction in which it is going. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer real books over their electronic form. I will always own more books than I know what to do with and I will always go out and buy more. You will never see me reading a book on a Kindle or an iPad. I’ll even take that a step further and say that I don’t buy books over the internet. When it comes to buying books, I am all about going to the local, independent bookstore and physically browsing through their collection.
Sure, I could find and buy every book I’d ever want online, but part of the fun of finding a book is the hunt! Will this bookstore have the book I want? What will I do if they don’t have the book I’m looking for? I have to say, my local bookstore has rarely let me down. Many times I stepped into Borders and the book I wanted wasn’t there. That same book could be found on the shelves of my local, independent bookstore.
It’s such a treat to be able to browse through the local bookstore. From the moment I walk through the front doors of my bookstore, I know I’m taking part in something good. From the friendly, quirky, and very knowledgable booksellers to the handwritten book recommendations and the quiet lull of the store to the plush furniture on which you can skim through a book, the bookstore creates an enjoyable reading environment that can never be duplicated online.
The closing of Borders marks a turning point in the book industry and I’m hoping that it will also be a turning point for independent bookstores. The art of physically choosing a book from a bookshelf and holding it in your hands should never die. Instead of virtually browsing and buying a book, why not pick a book from the shelves of a wise and friendly bookseller in your own community?