Are Bookstores Becoming Obsolete?

Posted on by Jennifer Bardall (MrsJenB)
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It was recently announced that Borders would be filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after years of falling profits resulting from both online book sales via and the rise of book readers like Kindle and Nook. As a result of this filing, it's projected that 30% of Borders locations across the country will close and the company will face "restructuring" in order to stay afloat. This raises the question of whether Borders - or any brick-and-mortar book retailer - will be saved in the long-term. Will bookstores eventually go the way of the dodo, along with wristwatches, corded phones, and quality television programming?

After all, nothing beats the convenience of downloading a book instantly to your reader. Not only does it satisfy our penchant for instant gratification, but when you remove the costs of printing/shipping to stores, you end up with a much more economical alternative for book junkies like yours truly. Even if you have a hankering for an actual printed book and are willing to (gasp!) wait a little while, Amazon sells them at much cheaper rates than Borders or Barnes and Noble. Why would I want to walk or drive myself aaaallll the way over to the store to buy a book for $25 when I can order it at half the price? I might not have it immediately, but I'll be able to take the money I saved and spend it on something super important like...well, whatever you can buy for $12.50.

Still, I don't know about you but for me, there's nothing like a visit to the bookstore. I was just browsing at one this past weekend (B&N...sorry, Borders), and for a book geek there's a sort of magic about the sight and smell of all those books just sitting there. Sure, I might be paying full price for a book I may only read once, and it may be bulkier than an eReader, but there's something about the turning of an actual page.

Except when that page gives you a paper cut. Which makes me rethink my entire argument, really.

Will bookstores go "extinct"?

3103 views & 15 votes

Debate It! 9

I think once stores selling new books go out of business, used book stores will rise.

Posted By Brash Equilibrium,

I think B&N will survive in big cities where there are still enough traditional readers to support them, but we lost our Waldens (a small franchise that was bought out by Borders) a couple years ago. Now our nearest big chain bookstore is about an hour away. Online is my only everyday option, and yes it makes me sad, but I think digital readers will save the publishing industry if not the bookstores themselves.

Posted By Cobanerd,

I could spend hours browsing the books at B&N, but I also have a Kindle and enjoy the convenience of the instant book. Former literary agent Nathan Bransford had an interesting post today comparing the demise of book stores to record stores. Maybe there's hope for books yet? You can check it out here:

Posted By Kirby,

I was talking to a friend about my love of the e-book reader, and she said 'But...but you LOVE books.' I had to point out that I love READING books but I hate dust, missing pages, and carting around 20 or so back-breakingly heavy boxes every time I have to move. The sooner my entire library can fit in my purse, the butter.

Posted By lessthanthree,

I mean of course 'better'...butter has nothing to do with it >_<

Posted By lessthanthree,

Butter is very important, though. ;-)

Posted By MrsJenB,

@lessthanthree I think what you were trying to say is that your e-book reader is like butter.

Posted By Cobanerd,

I do remember ny father-in-law raving about how owning a reader made traveling so much easier and lighter.

Posted By MrsJenB,

Wait, did you say nobody wears wrist watches anymore? Am I behind the times? And how could that be, since my wrist watch tells me exactly what time it is?

Posted By JohnG,

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