Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This Hurts


As many of you no doubt already know, Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, which is going to be a crushing blow to the already ailing publishing business. Most publishers had already quit shipping new releases to the troubled bookstore chain, which is said to owe $230 million to publishers and distributors. The chain has announced plans to close some 200 of its stores, starting immediately.

I personally have a soft spot for Borders, which is where our Monday night writers group has been meeting for nearly ten years now (except for a brief interlude after the store was walloped by Katrina). There's no denying the chain missed the boat with the ebook revolution, which for example now make up a quarter of my own sales. But a hefty chunk of my paper book sales were through Borders, so having all those boxes left sitting in the warehouse is painful. This isn't just about the chain itself; the fallout will be felt by publishers, distributors, and authors.

Eventually it will all sort itself out, but the transition is going to be traumatic. And I'm selfish enough to hope that MY Borders won't be one of the ones to close.

Now, back to writing... Almost finished!

Update: More bad news. Just heard Borders will be closing both of their New Orleans area stores.


Karen said...

Hurting with you. This feels like a loss of a friend. I think I'll go out and buy a book--or two--or eight.

Pax Deux said...

Was at my closest Borders this afternoon, the mood was that of a ICU waiting room. Horrible.

For grown up book lovers, there will always be a way. (I know I will always track the latest Sebastian installment down in whatever shape or form.) What worries me is the children.

Libraries are closing, now bookstores, school budgets are laid waste and then they wonder why our children do so poorly in their basic language skills.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sad indeed. I've bought a lot of stuff at Borders over the years.

Katie said...

Although e-books are growing in popularity, to me they just lack something over a paper book...

Firefly said...

I would have to agree with Katie, there is nothing like the feel of a book (paper) in one hands!! Sad about Borders, I have spent many an enjoyable hour inside their stores!

orannia said...

Just found out this morning that Borders in Australia and New Zealand and Whitcoulls in New Zealand have gone into voluntary administration :(

I so feel for all the staff - here and in Australia and the US.

cs harris said...

Karen, that's a good way to describe it.

Pax Deux, I'm wondering if my Borders will be there on Monday. And yes, one does worry about the children.

Charles, the got a big chunk of my business, too.

Katie, I'm with you!

Firefly, one of these days I'll break down and buy an e-reader, but I want it for old 19th century research books available on Google Books.

Orannia, I hadn't even thought about Australia and New Zealand. Ouch. And yes, thousands of people losing their jobs.

Susan/DC said...

Many of my Sunday afternoons are spent in Borders (it's a 10-minute walk from my house), and I buy lots and lots of books there. Both Borders in Washington, DC will close, as will the suburban stores closest to my home and office. There's a wonderful independent bookstore nearby, but they don't carry romance (wonderful, but snobby).

I love browsing a bricks-and-mortar store where I can pick up a book and read the first chapter to see if it has any of the hot button issues I try to avoid and if I like the author's voice. Online bookstores offer a peek inside, but it's usually not enough for me to get the information I need before deciding to buy. Author websites often have longer excerpts, but they only work for authors/books I know I might want -- the serendipity of discovering a new-to-me author or book isn't nearly as easy as when I have hundreds of books at my fingertips.

I'm now officially Depressed.

Susan/DC said...

P.S. When I was in New Orleans for the first time last November, I needed something to read so asked at my hotel (on the edge of the French Quarter) for the location of a bookstore. There were some lovely speciality UBS nearby, but I simply wanted a book to read on the plane ride home. I was told that the nearest general interest bookstore was the Borders in the Garden District, so I took the St. Charles trolley from my hotel to the Borders. Now where will people go to buy their books?

cs harris said...

Susan, I heard they are closing all stores over 20,000 feet, so that probably explains why the DC ones are all going, too.

I need to read the first chapter and some chunks out of the middle, too, before I decide to bite on a new author's book. I am truly in mourning (although to be honest, I think Borders made some bad decisions on ebooks, CDs, and DVDs).

There will still be a large Barnes and Noble out in Metairie, and New Orleans still has several small independent bookstores. One, The Garden District Bookshop, is just a block off St. Charles. I've always supported the Garden District. But the Borders is near my house and I have many years of fond memories associated with that store, lots of good conversation and good laughs. Steve and I went there tonight and the coffee shop is already closed.

Anonymous said...

I'm devastated. I buy nearly all my books there. The employees are like friends and with all the stores closing, it's a lot of lost jobs as well.

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