Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another One Falls

Well, in a time period of little less than a year, three of the six brick-and-mortar bookstores in the Raleigh area will have closed. Two are already gone, and the third closing is about to get underway. The recent announcement from Borders sealed the fate of the lone big-box competitor to Barnes & Noble in this area. Now we have three Barnes & Nobles to compete against one another.

I’ll be honest: I haven’t read many articles about the final nail in the Borders coffin. I’m not the least bit surprised by the news because I figured this would happen when they first announced their bankruptcy. If you went into a Borders after that initial bankruptcy announcement, you wouldn’t be surprised either. I was practically tackled by employees and forced to buy a Borders Rewards membership the one time I went to the remaining store in Raleigh. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not blaming the employees. If we have to blame someone, let’s blame the bobbleheads calling the shots who ran the company into the ground.

This isn’t a time to mourn the death of a large retailer that seemed more focused on selling trinkets and other useless items rather than staying at the forefront of the bookselling industry. Yes, I do have to hand it to Borders, at least they had a “Horror” section. But I still couldn’t find the books that I really wanted to read. Instead, I found shelves full of the same few titles. If we’re going to mourn, we should mourn for all those employees who are now thrust into unemployment in this difficult economic period.

As readers, let us instead be excited about the time we are currently in the midst of. We can be hopeful that small, independent bookstores will rise from the ashes left from the demise of the big boys. The e-reader “revolution” allows authors at least a chance to find an audience, where a bookselling industry dominated by the big retailers was gatekeeper of what was put in front of people. I, as a reader, am more excited about this time than any other before. Then again, maybe I’m just strange.


Gina Penn said...

Unlike you, I have read numerous blogs about the closing of Borders but I will admit, and I'm not blowing smoke, that I find yours to be the best. Instead of bemoaning the fate and acting as though books are dead, you are staying positive. Also, I discovered you are an editor, so I bookmarked your blog for future review. I may just patronize your services in the future, if you are up for that. Great blog. Thanks for not making me bust out the tissues.

Neal Hock said...

Thank you for the kind words, Gina! It would be easy to become down about the entire situation based on sentimental feelings, but that's all it would be for me: sentimental. I think it's an exciting time, and I've discovered a number of authors who probably would've never taken up shelf space at my local Borders.

I'm always willing to take on new clients, so I would be happy to see what we could work out. I'm actually starting a site for my business at It's still under construction, but stop by whenever you like!


Darkeva said...

Hey Neal,
I think that it's definitely interesting that your comments are, as the previous commenter says, positive, because I'm having a similar problem in Canada with the Indigo chain. Yes, it still carries books, but it's a monopoly that wants to kill all independents (so not cool), it does little more than sell trinkets etc and they do have a horror section but it's filled with the holy trinity of Koontz-King-Rice, which is not bad, but I like some more variety and am increasingly frustrated at the lack of small press representation on the shelves. Anyway, it's a huge issue that I won't get into further, but I'd heard similar things about Borders and don't think your POV is strange at all!

Hope you're having a good weekend!

Neal Hock said...

Hi Darkeva,

I had a great weekend! Thanks! I sure am glad that there are a few others who think my POV isn't strange. :-) As a reader, I'm super excited.