In February, I blogged that the Borders in my hometown was closing. Well, now it looks like we're saying goodbye forever, because today, Borders has announced it will be closing all of its remaining stores. My sadness then is nothing compared to now. This is terrible news for the industry, and I think it marks a moment when we have to realize the effects of e-readers, for better and for worse. I was really hoping Borders would be able to pull through. Unfortunately, this leaves Barnes & Noble as the only major bookstore chain in the country.
Not only is this sort of creepy in a B&N OWNS THE WORLD NOW way, it's drastically cutting down on the number of places people can physically browse books. I don't know about you, but one of the best things about buying books for me is stumbling on new titles by accident. How are you supposed to stumble on new titles on Amazon? They suggest things for you, but none of the suggestions are random.
Also, plenty of bad news for new writers, who depend a lot of random stumbling, since without a fan base, nobody's technically looking for them. This will definitely make marketing even more important before the release date. You could've written a jewel of a book, but if nobody reads it, benefit from word-of-mouth will be minimal. Those books that don't get a lot of promotion from their publishers — you were shit out of luck before, and it's going to be even worse now. No matter what is said about its failing state, Borders was a major chain. The complete eradication of its units is going to have a pretty substantial effect. Apparently, B&N is considering buying some of Borders' old locations, which I guess is the best news we can conceivably expect from this situation.
It's being tossed around that books are going the way of records, in that eventually, they're just going to go away. I hope that isn't true, but how can we say for sure? I will always prefer physical copies, but that doesn't mean the next generation will.
I have a lot of wonderful memories from Borders; it was where all the high school kids hung out and did their homework. There are definitely some sentimental feelings toward the stores on my part, not purely practical ones. I usually avoided giving my business to B&N, just because I liked Borders better. And for the first time, I won't be able to buy a Percy Jackson book from Borders. I'll have to get SON OF NEPTUNE from B&N in October.
Sad day for authors, readers, and the industry in general. But especially for me.