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 Amazon.com 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.