As some of you may have heard, Borders is once again in trouble. According to this WSJ article, unless a miracle happens it’s likely that a group of liquidators will purchase Borders at auction on Tuesday and Borders will go out of business for good. Hell, even if a miracle happens it’s only likely to be a temporary solution, keeping Borders alive for another year or two. So here is my thoughts and rants… I’m warning you, I’m pissed.
Borders is my favorite bookstore. It has an awesome membership program, and a good selection. My older sis Heather and I often go there to hang out and drink coffee and buy books. In fact, it’s the first place I go to when a new book comes out that I want. So I cannot even articulate how much it’s depressing me that by the end of the week, the approx. 400 Borders stores left might be closing.
Now, if Barnes and Noble were closing I would be bummed, because the loss of a bookstore is always a tragic thing. It would mean that there would be NO more bookstores in any of the malls in my area. But Barnes and Noble has been really lacking to me lately – their customer service isn’t great, their coupons aren’t very good, their membership program sucks. And all they do now is focus on the stupid Nook.
And yes, I’m blaming the closing of Borders for the most part on e-readers. Seems to me that once Borders closes, all other major chain bookstores are next in line. I can so easily see the only bookstores being left in my area only being small, used ones. And eventually not even those existing, and I’ll have to hoard all the real print books that I can because they won’t even be made anymore. I HATE the stupid digital age.
I understand that some of you think that’s extreme, but I don’t think so. After all, 4 years ago when the Kindle came out, I said that I thought it would put bookstores out of business. And here we are – Borders is likely closing. Barnes and Noble is still around mainly because they’ve thrown all their weight behind the damn Nook. But if the Nook is what’s saving it right now, then I’m sure the company will realize that B&N can exist completely online and start closing some of it’s stores.
I don’t understand the public’s obsession with e-readers. Were real books actually SO inconvenient to you that you had to purchase a $100-$300 device to download digital books instead? Even ignoring the large cost of the actual e-reader device, e-books aren’t really cheaper. A mass market book that’s normally $7.99 is still $7.99 on the Kindle, from what I’ve seen. Trades and hardcovers might be slightly cheaper, but printing a coupon and going to a real bookstore would save you even more money. Yes, you can buy a couple books for only 99 cents. You could also not be lazy and go to a used bookstore or sale and find used books for 99 cents. And for gods’ sake, if you bought a print book it would actually be YOURS. You could literally hold it in your hand, and say “This is mine, and only fire or flood could take it away from me.” Despite the various promises that these companies make about the e-books being yours, there’s nothing stopping them from changing their minds and deleting them. Or their systems could crash. Or your computer could crash. Your e-reader could break and your warranty has expired and you need to buy a whole new stupid e-reader. Or a freaking solar flare could put ALL technology out of commission, and you wouldn’t have access to your precious e-books anymore. My only regret in that case is that I wouldn’t be able to go online and say “HAHA! I still have all my books!”
I understand that some e-reader owners love being able to download a book, right away. But you could also get in the car and drive to your local bookstore or library, right away. And when has it been proven that what’s faster/easier is better? Drive-through fast food places should have squashed that notion ages ago.
I just don’t get it. I’ve seen a TON of people say that while they prefer print books, they like their e-readers too. Well, I think it’s time that you picked a side and stuck to it. But unfortunately, so many people are obsessed with their gadgets that it’s likely real bookstores and eventually real books will become extinct. Again, is that so far-fetched? After all, it’s been talked about for ages that newspapers are pretty much dying because everyone uses the internet. Why should it be any different for books?
So there, I’ve finally said it. E-readers SUCK. E-books SUCK. I’ve said it before in much nicer terms, because I didn’t want to alienate any of my readers. But it’s my blog, and I’m speaking my mind. And I am pissed off. If you love your e-reader that much, fine. If you don’t want to read my blog anymore because I’ve offended your e-reading sensibilities, cool. I’m sick of holding back my disgust with the whole e-reading movement.
In the meantime, I’m probably going to go on crazy book buying splurges, trying to collect as many good books as I can before publishers decide it’s just not worth printing real books anymore. And before bookstores shut their doors forever. And authors, I am refusing to read your book if it’s only available in e-book format. I’ve recently made exceptions and read cheap e-books by my fave authors on my computer because they weren’t available any other way. Not doing that anymore. If you want real readers, print real books. I get that you want to keep up with the times, but think long and hard about the history and importance of the printed word in our society.
Borders, if you’re closing for good, I’m seriously going to miss you. I’ve tried showing my support lately by buying books at your store, and by being a Borders Rewards Plus member. I’ve given away Borders gift cards here before. And if you’re not closing soon, seems like you’ll be closing later.