I was incredibly bummed out yesterday when I received an email from the CEO of Borders announcing the close of all Borders stores. 😦 I have been a Borders fan and customer for years. When I see that big red sign on the side of a building I’m filled with visions of colorful book covers, new fiction releases, beautiful greeting cards, and the shelves of Bargain Books where you can find any arbitrary topic marked down to $4.99 (101 Ways to Use Pine Needles for Art anyone?). I feel a sense of peace just walking in there, and want to stay for hours. Yes, of course this could be true for any book store, it just so happens that there are Borders stores everywhere close to where I live and work so it became my store of choice.
I know this economy is extremely tough right now and that was the first thing I thought of when I heard the announcement. However what bothered me was hearing the water cooler talk that said Border’s close is due to the e-book revolution and less and less people are buying actual books. One person even went so far to say they thought books are dying and that they would rarely buy a book now that they have a Kindle. I think I threw up in my mouth a little.
I. Heart. Books. I love to buy them. I love to set them on my night table, on the coffee table, or the car seat, waiting to have the time to read them, seeing the cover out of the corner of my eye and feeling full of promise for a new adventure. I love the feel of a book in my hands; the soft edges of the pages flipping between fingers, the weight of it literally, and figuratively with the story line in some cases. To me reading is a relaxing experience, one of the few things in my life that doesn’t require technology. It takes me back to childhood summers and vacations and settling down in a comfortable chair for hours. Holding an electronic device and having yet another screen glare back at me is not something I need to add to my life.
Perhaps Borders was slow on the uptake to adopt the e-reader technology, lagging behind their competitors. I can recognize that; there IS a market for it out there that needs to be satisfied. But I certainly don’t believe that the real book is dead. I know there are other people out there like me that will continue to give the book life, just as the book breathes life to a story that you would have never before imagined.