The Borders bookstore chain is in trouble, and it’s my fault.
At least, it’s the fault of people like me who have turned to Amazon for book purchases, or who’ve gone digital and just shop on the Kindle. They’ve faced rumors of bankruptcy for years, and more recently they’ve had executives resign, they’ve faced complaints about slow payments from publishers, they’ve closed warehouses, and just last week Diamond, the single, largest comics distributor, announced they will be halting shipments to Borders. Their e-readers haven’t gained near the traction the Kindle and the Nook have, and redesigning stores to make a bigger push for toys and games hasn’t made much of a difference.
Which is too bad, because I still enjoy shopping there. Hell, the kids love shopping there. They’ll browse their favorite sections all day if we let them.
It’s a lot easier for them to shop physical books because they rely on covers to catch their eye even more than we do, and the two younger ones like to flip through the interior illustrations. They also like the instant gratification, and more often than not they’ll be reading their books on the way to the cash register. I can’t even begin to count how many times they almost crashed headlong into another customer because they were just not paying attention.
The only section I still have to browse that way is the martial arts books. If I’m going to consider a book on kata, for example, I’m going to read through a few examples and check out some pictures. Sure, Amazon enables “Look Inside!” on a lot of their books to make browsing easier, but it’s just not the same. This is especially true when I don’t know what I’m looking for. I’ll flip through several books until something looks interesting, and if Borders happened to send me a big discount coupon or some free bonus bucks, I’ll buy it.
If not, I do what I did today: fire up the Amazon app on my cell phone and check out their pricing. More often than not, the book’s available at a discount, and with the free shipping on my Prime account and not having to pay taxes, I’d come out well ahead by clicking that 1-Click button. Today I didn’t even do that, I just added the books to my Wish List to buy later.
Like I sad, I’m responsible for their going out of business. I’d love to support them, but right now the wallet’s contents (or lack thereof) are more important.