The End of Borders

Thursday, August 4, 2011

(My pretty new copy of Cannery Row)

As everyone already knows, Borders is officially closing. Book bloggers have been talking about how bummed out they are and I've been seeing posts about book buying at their sales every where I look. So I decided to check it out... it did not go well.

In recent years Borders has stopped being a bookstore in my mind and has become a stationary or journal shop where you can also buy coffee. It seemed like every time I went into one, the books were becoming fewer and fewer and the other products were taking over.

I decided to ignore this fact and check out the much lauded "sale." I drove about 45 minutes, in bad traffic, to be greeted by giant 40% sale signs. I'll admit, I was a bit giddy with anticipation. I am the last person to get excited by the closing of a bookstore, but a book sale is another things entirely.

Unfortunately the sale itself consisted of about five items that were 40% off (mainly 2011 calendars) and a bunch of books that were 10% off. And folks, 10 % off of a $30 book does not put it in my price range. If I'm going to buy a book for full price, it's not going to be from a Borders or Barnes and Noble, it's going to be from some independent bookshop that I love to hang out in. Preferably one that lets cats roam the aisles.

Anyway, I just wanted to add my two cents into the whole Borders issue. Yes, I hate to see any bookstore close, but at the same time, I felt like Borders stopped catering to readers a long time ago. I would encourage all of you to support whatever bookstores you love, big or small, but don't be fooled by the "liquidation sale" that probably won't be an actual sale worth going to for another three months.

p.s. To make myself feel better about the failed Borders trip, I stopped into a Half Priced Books on my way home. That trip ended successfully and I walked away with a 1945 edition of Steinbeck's Cannery Row for $7! It's one of my favorite classics and it even has an awesome dust jacket asking people to buy war bonds.

*Photos by moi.


  1. The Borders near me (the ONLY bookstore near me) closed about six months ago. It was full of calendars and games and crap, but the manager there was really into his books, so you got pretty good help there. When they closed down, I went when books were 70% off and there were hundreds of books. I walked out with a huge bag full. That is a bummer your drive didn't pay off. I noticed the Borders in your airport was having a blowout. I was tempted...

  2. Borders' liquidation sale is actually pretty awesome. They start off with 10-30% off, but by the end of the week, everything's pretty much 70-90%. Of course, there won't be much selection left, but when I went book shopping the last week where ours were open, I bought 6 books for $15.

  3. Sorry the Borders visit didn't pay off, but yay for finding that amazing copy of Cannery Row. I'm reading it for the Classics Circuit. I'm a big Steinbeck fan, but hadn't read Cannery Row yet. I'm glad to hear it's one of your favorites!

  4. I'm with you. If I'm paying full price, I'd rather my money went to any indie bookstore. Which my city doesn't have b/c they were driven out by Borders and B&N. I'd rather buy affordable books from Amazon

  5. I'm glad the trip wasn't a total loss, but it sounds like the Boarders' sale is very misleading! I'll make note to avoid that.

  6. I feel much the same way. I stopped going to Borders a while back when I found I like the indie bookstores and used bookstores a lot better, mostly because they actually sell books. I stopped in at the Borders closing sale yesterday and thought, "I used to get 40% off with one of their coupons...why would I rejoice over 10% off now?" I, too, lament the loss of any bookstore, but it just goes to show how real readers want real bookstores -- not calendar coffee shops!

  7. I always feel a little bad saying this, but I prefer B & N to indie bookstores. I know, it's awful, but I like MORE BOOKS. Whenever I look for something at an indie, it seems they always have one book by the author I want, but never the book I'm looking for. That said, I am in hearty agreement with you about Borders; I suppose they were trying to nail a different niche from B & ?N, but by stocking all that other stuff, they lost me as a customer...and many more, it seems.

  8. Sandy - That's what I was hoping for, but no luck. A great manager can make all the difference, but the ones near us all have cranky emo kids.

    Jillian - Maybe I'll go again in a couple weeks, but as of a couple days ago absolutely nothing was on sale for less than 10% that I would actually want.

    Kristi - I can't wait to hear what you think! I just love the characters in the book. I just finished the sequel, Sweet Thursday, for the Classics Circuit and it was great too.

    bookmagic - Amazon definitely has better deals, but it's not the same as wandering the aisles of a bookstore. I miss that when I order books online.

    Brenna - Save your money and hit up Half Priced Books again, you'll have better luck.

    Cori - Glad I'm not alone.

    Mumsy - I've always liked B&N a lot more than Borders or BAM, but there are a few good independent stores (like Powell's) that are huge. Unfortunately they're few and far between now and if I'm looking for something specific that I can't order at a little shop, I usually go to B&N.

  9. That's so cool about Cannery Row! I just found out it has a sequel, Sweet Thursday. I think I'm going to do a reread before I read the sequel.

  10. I had a wonderful Borders near my house when I was growing up, so I've always felt very cold towards B&N. I know there are good and bad Borders (just like I assume there are good B&N stores, but I've never been in one...), but this bankruptcy has made me nostalgic and sad. I haven't had the opportunity to visit any closing Borders' sales, but I might soon. I know I shouldn't expect much, but regardless the sales, I want the chain that supported me for years of book buying to go out with a bang.

  11. Captain - The sequel is great, you'll have to read it.

    Biblibio - That's how B&N was for me. Funny how it's different in every town.

  12. The posts I've been reading about Borders seem to all say the same thing: Borders was very much the cause of their own demise in many ways. And as much as I was attracted to the idea of great discounts as they liquidate, I too heard there really weren't any. It is a shame though.