Sunday, July 24, 2011

Books Without Borders

I spent my entire day yesterday in Borders looking for closing deals. I will go back again because I just found a couple $5 coupons in my closet drawers that are going to expire on 11/31/2011. I don't think there will be anymore Borders store by then so I better use them now. As Borders' premium club member, I can't express in words how sad I feel about the closing of this bookstore chain. Every time I visited Borders, I ended up spending more than 2 hours there. I was never just browsing. Most of the books in my bookshelf are bought from this store. Yesterday when I was walking past the vacated cafe in Borders, I was flooded with memories of my first dates, my bookclub discussions, my knitting workshops with my friends, etc, that took place in various Borders locations. Because of Borders, I had discovered and fallen in love with books and magazines I never knew existed, that I would never have sought them out if I never went to Borders.

I remember when I first came to America, the only place I knew how to get there independently was Borders. It's not just a bookstore to me, it's a place which introduced me to the American way of life and a place in a foreign country where I felt comfortable, where I felt I belonged. It's a place where I met some of my American friends. Borders helped me relieve my homesickness because the books and the environment there just distracted me. It offered me a place to hang out when I had nobody and knew nowhere to go to. Whenever I felt bored, I unconsciously drove to Borders. I tried the public libraries but it just never felt the same, the library shelves are always musky and eerie compared to Borders's book aisles. The vibe in the library made me feel even more depressed and lonely when I was alone. Borders made me feel upbeat and cheerful even when I was alone.

It's just sad beyond words that this bookstore chain is going to disappear completely. This is another example where bad management can destroy a good company and flush shareholder value down into the toilet. I don't think the business model of a brick and mortar bookstore is the problem, I think it's the fault of their management's inability to control cost and capitalize on Borders' inherent value to consumers. I still believe no website or e-reader (and I have 3, my ipad, iphone, netbook pc) can really replace the physical presence of a bookstore. I think brick and mortar bookstore can still be run as a profitable business. It just takes a capable management to do so. May be I am just a delusional bookstore fanatic who is in denial with the ever expanding world wide web that is going to bind my life closer and closer to an LED screen.

So, how do you feel about a world without bookstores? Email us your exclusive opinion, fill-in your email address in the following signup form and receive a 10% discount coupon from Old Navy when we publish your opinion on this blog. (good for use until 12/31/11 and is perfect for your winter shopping.)

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