I keep meaning to write about this, but I guess I’ve been blocking it out. So here goes. Yes, it’s about Borders Books.
It was gut-wrenching enough when our store in downtown Santa Barbara closed last month, but now the company is preparing to file for bankruptcy? Not really a surprise since they haven’t been paying their bills, but I really hoped it wouldn’t come to bankruptcy and re-structuring and closing stores and laying off people and….Well, what it means is that there will be fewer brick-and-mortar stores where readers can find the books they want to read.
Don’t get me wrong. Independent bookstores are wonderful. Libraries are essential. Amazon and other online retailers are convenient. But one less chain is not a good thing for the book business – or for us authors.
Besides, I always liked Borders. I remember when one of my publishers flew me to their headquarters in Ann Arbor to meet with their buyers, who were all book people as opposed to bean counters. They were young and well-read and didn’t treat me like an interloper. They cared about my opinion and said flattering things about my novels and didn’t sit there judging whether a particular book cover should have a different background color. In other words, they weren’t full of themselves the way I’d always found the Barnes & Noble executives to be.
Before I became a writer of books, I actually worked for Borders as a freelancer writer and promoter – only the company wasn’t Borders then. It was Waldenbooks and they were based in Stamford, CT. I used to interview authors for their consumer newsletters and come up with articles about various genres. Walden stores were small stores, like B. Dalton stores, and they stocked mostly just the bestsellers. Then Borders came along and bought Walden and everything changed – for the better, I thought.
But now look. Barnes & Noble is said to be eying Borders for a possible merger. How would I feel about that prospect?
Yeah, that’s how. I’ve never been wild about putting all my eggs in one basket, so to speak. We need Borders to get healthy again so they can function on their own. I’m rooting for them. Clap clap clap.