Bill Morefield My thoughts, discoveries, and occasional rambiings.

February 14, 2011

Why I’m Not Sure I’ll Miss Borders

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bill Morefield @ 10:13 pm

Understand that I’m a reader.  I love books, have books, and will often buy a book that looks interesting knowing that I probably won’t be able to get around to reading it for weeks or months.  When I travel I love to find a used bookstore and can spent a couple hours going through and leave with a stack of books so large that they have to be shipped home instead of packing in my luggage.

When I read the news that Borders is expected to file for bankruptcy this week it surprised me then my reaction was largely, “Meh.”  It’s not that I dislike Borders, but honestly I just don’t go there for books that often.  A lot of blame for the demise of Borders is being placed on the “Internet” much like it’s some vague evil force.  In truth I’ll expect in the end management mistakes and being late to get into the online sales routes did most of the work to take Borders down this road.  For me Borders never competed against the Internet.  For me Borders competed against the fact that the nearest store is about an hour’s drive from my house and to be honest if I want a book it’s only about a fifty-fifty chance they’ll have it unless it’s the newest Stephen King or latest hot business book.  Sure they can order it, but I can do that myself from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Books-A-Million and have it at my home in a few days.

In fact since I got a Kindle about a year ago, unless it’s a book I expect to reference certain ways, I’m just as likely to just buy the eBook and have it in a few minutes.  I enjoy the book experience, but I’m finding more the ability to carry an entire library with me anywhere is just too much of a benefit to ignore.  The ability to reference a book any time without having to remember where I’ve stored it means I’m re-visiting books that I’ve already read more than before.  The ability to take time that otherwise felt wasted (waiting on an oil change or at the doctor’s office) and read instead makes me feel more productive and I am getting more read thanks to these small moments.  Now that my phone has a Kindle app, I expect I’ll do this even more and not just when I expect to be waiting.

I don’t think books will go away and I don’t want them too.  The truth is though that a lot of books are read, digested, and then simply shelved or resold.  Something is lost perhaps in the move to eBooks, but I think more will be gained.  I hope the used bookstore with the musty smell and surprise finds never goes away.  I do think that the traditional bookstore will change, but I don’t think that they will all go away.  Some will thought and it appears Borders might be the first.


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