Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Borders going under?
I am so tired of the Death of the American Bookstore lament. It is capitalism at its finest. Borders has outlived its usefulness and the last several years didn't do much at all to keep up with the needs (or wants) of its customers. They never have been a library. They sold books to make money, and haven't been doing very well for some time.
This is the same store that was (years ago) criticized for ruining independent bookstores. Lately critics have attacked Amazon for putting stores like Borders out of business. Amazon should be lauded for giving our latest generation a new set of tools and making reading fun again for them. If Borders had provided something worth keeping, they would still be in business.
Why should I stand in line only to find the book I want (and have been waiting for) is not in stock. Why should I wait for someone to order one for me when I can jump on my Kindle and get it myself (in less than a minute)? Don't even ask about the price differences. Prices are only one piece of this puzzle. Don't blame the readers losing interest. We will always be where the best reads are. Borders didn't pay attention to where we were looking for the great books.
Younger readers? There are still plenty of youngsters out there, ready and more than willing to have the torch passed to them. They have embraced this new technology and are enjoying resources like Gutenberg.org and Manybooks.net. Classics are being reintroduced to these young readers in a totally uncensored way. With the help of the Internet and a trusty Kindle, they can read Mark Twain's original (uncut) words. Who could ask for more?
I have the same reverence I have always had for books. If I want to smell old books and dusty shelves, I can go to a library, or take a long sniff of my Kindle. With a little imagination, you would be surprised where a great book on your Kindle can take you. My books are like wonderful comfortable friends, and it is wonderful to be able to have so many as close as a button push or two. At any given moment in time I can be transported to worlds and feelings I would never be able to experience in "real" life. I read books with my Kindle, iPhone, and iPad. They all have something great to read and all are always handy. I also love to listen to audio books when I'm walking. It makes staying as healthy as possible for as long as possible much more palatable.
The written word will always be with us... in one form or another, but it will always be with us to comfort, tickle, amaze, frighten, make us feel better, or make us think. Don't mourn the death of a (highly commercial) bookstore. Celebrate the future of reading and enjoy having all your books closer.