run for the borders

Struggling against both online and big-box retailers, the Borders Group, the bookseller, said Thursday that it had hired two investment banks to advise it on a potential sale and had turned to its largest shareholder for additional money. [NY Times]

It seems like just yesterday that we were grieving the loss of Earthling Books in SB, which went belly-up due to the encroachment of the new Borders store, and others, down the street. We didn’t – at least I didn’t – want the big stores moving in. I liked our comfy local bookstore, with the big fireplace in the middle. You could sit and read as long as you wanted, and there was a nice little cafe.

In reality, at least a decade has gone by. Earthling has been forgotten by most of us. And being fickle, we’re turning our backs on the chain stores that replaced so many independents, so that even the behemoths are staggering.

I was in a Borders last week, to hear a writer speak about her book and her career. It was a Thursday, early evening, and aside from the 20 or so of us who came for the presentation, there were only a few people in the store. It was a little bit pitiful.

It seems fair to note that one of the reasons Borders is struggling so is that they don’t sell books online. They have book and store searching, but no online sales. They have missed the party, and that’s no fault of yours or mine.

I guess if I have a point here at all, it’s that we, the consumers, are the force driving these changes. We are deciding what our commercial choices are going to be. I like using Amazon myself, but pretty soon there won’t be any place where I can do what I like even more: to stand and hold a book in my hands, feel the weight and texture of it, smell the paper, and carry it home in a sack. It’s one of life’s little blessings for the lover of books, and it is disappearing from our experience.

literary 2fer

Kiran Desai, who already snared the Man Booker Prize in October for her novel The Inheritance of Loss (Grove/Atlantic), last night added the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction …. [Link]

Whoa, must be some book. I’m going to put it on my wish list at Amazon.