Sunday, August 14, 2011

A sign of the economy or the digital age?

As most of you know, Borders Group filed for bankruptcy in February of this year in an attempt to reorganize its business. On July 18, Borders asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to sell off its remaining stores. Eight years ago, Borders was at its peak and operated 1,249 bookstores, under the Borders and Waldenbooks names, and employed 19,500 people. In July it was down to 399 stores and 10,700 employees.

I just drove by my local Borders. Even though I didn't particularly like Borders, it was sad to see the Going Out of Business banner draped over its doors, especially when considering the employees who are losing their jobs. But with the rise of digital publishing, several missteps by Borders, and the growing popularity of e-readers and online buying, its understandable. I've seen several bookstores close in my city over the years, but this particular one seems a bad sign for books. As a writer and reader, that troubles me. I still prefer print books to electronic, but they may not always be available.

How do you feel about this bankruptcy? Do you think it's the economy, the rise in electronic books, or a combination? And what about the trends in general? Are you excited by the growing popularity of e-books? And are you still excited by it if it means fewer and fewer print books in the future? 



32 comments:

msmariah said...

I actually just went to Borders today to stock up on some discounted books. I was so disappointed to see another bookstore go out of business.

I may be a hold out, but I refuse to read an e-book on an ipad. Mind you I have an ipad, but it's not for reading books.

Just give me an old fashioned book so I can bend the pages and not have to charge it...

Great blog by the way. I'm following you now.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Thanks for the follow, and also thanks for becoming my 200th follower. Your blog looks absolutely stunning! :)

PK HREZO said...

Hi Doralynn! Love your beautiful blog. :)
I think you're right about it being a combination of things. Plus Borders just wasn't embracing the digital age of pubbing like it should. They should've been innovating an inexpensive ereader and offering authors a place to self-pub or something to stay afloat. But they dropped the ball big time. Bad business judgment on their part. Now they know.
I love the possibilities ebooks opens up for indie authors. It did a complete 360 for self-pubbers and that is something to be excited for! Plus, now books are able to reach many more customers.

RHYTHM AND RHYME said...

It's sad to see a bookshop go out of business especially when you are interested in books or perhaps an author.
We here in the UK have had causualties too in that area.

Yvonne.

Isis Rushdan said...

Congratualtions on your debut novel! It's always great to connect to other writers who are in the service or prior. Check out ROMVETS and tell Merline I sent you. It 's a fantastic group.

Thanks for the follow!

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi MsMariah, good time to stock up on discounted books. It is disappointing to see another bookstore go out of business.

I know quite a few hold outs, but I have friends who love all the new possibilities e-books offer. They make good points, and there is a lot of good news in this technology. But I still prefer print books, and I seriously doubt I'm going to buy many e-books unless I absolutely have to read them and they're only available digitally.

Thanks for the follow and the kind words! Doralynn

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Nebular, I didn't realize I was your 200th follower... that's cool. I'm honored to have that spot. Thanks for the follow and the compliment on my blog! Doralynn

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Pk Hrezo, thank you for your comments and the nice words about my blog!

You make some excellent points. Borders did screw up. They just couldn't see the writing on the wall. They had such a bias against digital books and POD publishers that in the end it aided in their demise - corporate suicide. They needed to copy the moves of B&N and Amazon, but were too arrogant to do so. Publishers are finally starting to wake up, but they are slow in doing so.

I love the possibilities ebooks open up for indie authors as well. But I doubt I'll ever truly love ebooks the way I do print ones.

Thanks again! Doralynn

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Yvonne, it is sad to see another bookshop go out of business. I guess this will continue happening around the world, but I hate watching it. It's amazing how things change. Thanks for visiting. Doralynn

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Isis, it's such a pleasure to meet another writer who is in the service -- or was -- I'm not sure if you're still active duty or reserves. Thanks for telling me about ROMVETS. And thanks for your service. I've e-mailed Merline.

So happy to have met you! Doralynn

David P. King said...

I prefer the printed book myself. I get enough screen time when I'm writing. Reading from a surface that doesn't glare into my eyes is a treat. For non-authors, I understand the appeal. I'd be an e-reader, too.

I gave you a shout-out on my blog today. :)

Luanne G. Smith said...

I went to Borders this weekend and picked up a few bargains. It was sad. Like you I never really liked Borders all that much. I thought they had poor customer service and not always a great selection, but they were convenient. Sorry to see them go, and sorry for the people losing their jobs.

I don't think we'll lose hardcover books, though. They may become something only collectors buy, but I think they'll always be around.

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi L.G., Borders had a busy weekend. It was packed when I drove by. I would have liked to stop but I had groceries in the car.

It is a pity to see all those people losing their jobs, and it's hard to find one right now.

I wouldn't mind being picked up by collectors someday, but I'd still like to dream about being on bookshelves all across the globe. :-)

Thanks for visiting!

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi David, just realized I missed your post somehow!! I apologize.

Yes, agreed... give me a print book. Some books I read online, but it takes me forever because they hurt my eyes. I even stopped reading two books (that I was actually enjoying) because the reading experience was unpleasant.

thanks for the shout out. I've left a comment for you. Doralynn

DWei said...

I prefer paper books but people seem to prefer the electronic versions.

And I think it's a trend, just look at newspapers.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

You're welcome. All the compliments are well-deserved ;)

It's very cool, indeed. I even mentioned you on my anniversary/200th followers post, because I was grateful for that follow. :)

DEZMOND said...

I do not live in the USA, but I heard about this since so many of our fellow bloggers were saddened by the closing of this shop. It's always sad when bookstores get closed :(

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi DWei, I hope I can always get books I want to read in print, but I'm already having trouble doing that.

thanks for visiting!

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Nebular, I'll be over to check out your mention... nice to be mentioned... well, sometimes. I can think of a few times I wasn't so thrilled about it. But in this case, I'm real pleased.

Nice to see you again.

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Dezmond, it is sad when bookstores get closed. My cousin Lori used to have the coolest bookstore, and it went out of business several years ago. That shop was her dream, I was really saddened when that one closed.

Unknown said...

I think I am part of the problem. I now only read on Kindle and rarely will buy a book unless it's a textbook/workbook. But, I had too many books and no storage and the Kindle looked like the best option. Will paper books be on the way out? I think yes...in about 50 years. Will I be sad about it? Yes. I love the smell and feel of real books.

TS Hendrik said...

I think it's a sign of both the economy and the digital market's rising. Personally it makes me sad. Print is having less and less of a place in the world.

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Clarissa, there are definite advantages to e-readers and this whole trend, but I just can't read comfortably on e-readers or online. It's very hard on my eyes. Plus I'm old fashioned. I know people who have grown up with this technology are used to it. I didn't grow up with it. There are quite a few things that I still prefer the way they used to be, and books is one of 'em. I'm with you. I love the smell and feel of a real book.

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi TS. It makes me sad too. In Fahrenheit 451 books were banned and burned. It was the demise of books. Now we're facing a different kind of Fahrenheit 451. The demise of the print book. I know publishers won't do away with print entirely - at least I hope so - but as you say, print is having less and less of a place in the world. Doralynn

J.L. Campbell said...

The Kindle has made accessing books easier and less expensive, but I still love the smell and feel of printed paper. I think publishing trends as set by the huge players in the industry is part of the reason why things are as we currently see them. It was only a matter of time before people started to find a way to the market around the gatekeepers. And yes, economic conditions helped worsen the situation.

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi J.L., I've seen commercials lately for Kindle... or maybe it was Nook... praising the superiority of e-readers over print. The girl with the book didn't want an e-reader because she wanted to be able to turn down the page of the book. From what I'm seeing here, people just love the smell and feel of a book. Now if e-readers can duplicate that, print books really will be in trouble.

But I am glad that writers have found a way around the gatekeepers. And those gatekeepers better had better wake up. Their gates are on fire.

Cynthia said...

I 'd rather buy print. There is something about holding a paperback that the digital just can't compare too.

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Cynthia, absolutely. Wow, it's almost unanimous. Print.

Christine Rains said...

I think it's a combination of both. I love books. I love the smell of them, the feel of the pages, and cracking the spine of a new one. Yet in October, I'll be getting my first ereader. More and more books will be published electronically like it or not. Intriguing book trailer!

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Christine, thank you for your comments. I am the same way. I love the smell and feel of the pages in a book and cracking that spine. And thank you so much for watching my trailer and your kind comment! Doralynn

Pat Tillett said...

Great and thought provoking post!
I'm not happy about it, but I don't think the economy has anything at all to do with this. It's part of our evolution. Electronics and the internet is taking us there. The publishers know exactly what they are doing. It is so much cheaper to sell them in a digital manner than on paper.
If you want to take a look here's a link to a post of mine during this same time period on the same subject. If not, that's okay too!

http://patricktillett.blogspot.com/2011/07/real-books-versus-e-books-part-two.html

Doralynn Kennedy said...

Hi Pat, just saw this comment. I find this subject really interesting too. I'm going to take a look at the link. Thanks for pointing it out. Doralynn