Recycled Computing

R.I.P. Borders

- 2011.08.02

I'm going to write about something that is kind of vaguely related to computers: Books.

Do you like books? Do you like reading?

I love books, and I am addicted to reading.

It all started in Junior High when I discovered science fiction and Robert A. Heinlein. I forget which of his juvenile novels I read first, Red Planet or Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, but I quickly tracked down all of Mr. Heinlein's juvenile novels. This turned into a lifetime obsession with the genre.

So I like books, and I like bookstores - mainly because bookstores have books in them, but lately due to the fact that they have free WiFi and a coffee shop, too. This is a trend that the Borders chain started, but, unfortunately, Borders is now going belly up. I'm sad. It's not that I can't buy books anymore, it's just I've lost another cool place to hang out.

The other night my family went to the local Borders to pick up some items on sale. I really couldn't muster much enthusiasm, as it was like attending a funeral. The coffee shop section was closed, shelves were empty, and the store was full of bargain hunters.

What do I really miss about a brick and mortar store? Browsing. Wandering around and looking for something I haven't seen before.

Now I'm no Luddite. I use the Internet for shopping - but it's for a specific need. To me at least, it's hard to browse an Internet site. And shopping is sometimes a social event (at least for my wife - I remain a confirmed search-and-destroy shopper who only wants to get in, get out, and go home). We are all human beings, and humans like to rub elbows and socialize. This is a need that we will always have, so I don't see the replacement of the retail store.

That's why I miss Borders.

Analysts claim that one of the reasons that Borders failed was because it didn't have it's own e-reader. Amazon has the Kindle, and Barnes and Noble has the Nook, but Borders was the first book retailer to sell an e-reader - Sony's model.

I think that Borders expanded too quickly and was too spread out to weather our economic downturn. Still, whatever happened, there's still Barnes and Noble.

But I'll still miss Borders. LEM

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