Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Does Borders' Failure Mark the End of the Traditional Book?

Stopped by our gasping Borders bookstore yesterday to check out the fire sale. Everything was marked down 20 percent. And though I am typically more of a 50-to-75-percent-off kind of gal, in the end a sale is a sale, no?

As I picked up early readers for my little guy and some fun new titles for my older kids, I couldn't help but feel like this was a real turning point. In my mind, the death of Borders marks the end of the book as we know it.
I got this sense that, as the stacks and stacks of hardback Olivia and Pinkalicious books were being pushed out the door, so too was the notion of hardback books themselves.

It was spring 2009 when Borders decided to pull CDs from the shelves. Why? Because of competition from iTunes. We were downloading our music instead of popping it into the CD player. And at garage sales across the nation we saw great deals on CD racks and other storage systems.

Buying those hardback books yesterday felt like a quaint exercise, even though I have been doing it every week over at our local Indie bookstore, 57th Street Books. Thumbing through the stacks of Junie B. Jones and Ivy and Bean yesterday felt a lot like when I'm at a flea market and poking around in the piles of cassette tapes.

I still love the feel of a traditional book in my hands. And I love curling up in our cushy old chair and turning the pages of a picture book with my kindergartner. But I think he would be perfectly fine if we snuggled in together in the glow of an iPad.

1 comment:

  1. I dont think the curling up with a book is going to go away, especially with childrens books, nothing like cuddling with the kids at the end of the day, and a book.
    I am thinking that maybe the death of Borders may mean the little "indie " stores will have a chance again.
    Lets see.
    Nice post Kate.