Goodbye Borders, Hello E-Reading

Goodbye Borders, Hello E-Reading

 

By Meilan Solly
LEESBURG, VA- When walking into a bookstore, the first thing one experiences (that is, if they enjoy reading) is complete, undiluted happiness. For book lovers, seeing endless rows of novels and being able to peruse said novels for hours on end is one idea of perfection. However, this dream is growing fainter every day. Kindles, Nooks, and Kobos are becoming the newest form of bookstores, and the idea of actual paper books may soon be obsolete if the current trend continues.
Borders, one of the biggest book store chains in the United States, announced this July that it would be closing. This news was not unexpected, because 2011 marked a bad business year for Borders, but was nevertheless sad to hear for avid readers. In February, Borders filed for bankruptcy and closed 200 stores. In June, things started to look up for Borders: there was one potential buyer, the Gores Group, and another one stepped up soon after. However, Borders backed out of its deal with Najafi Companies, since lenders and creditors worried that Najafi would liquidate stores and actual liquidation companies would pay more. Finally, on July 18, 2011, Hilco and Gordon Brothers bought the company and began the liquidation process. Borders is expected to be totally closed by the end of September.
When Chuck Green, sophomore, heard the news about Borders, he went out and bought as many books as possible before the store closed. He wasn’t very surprised by the fact that Borders was closing, as he believes that “not as many kids read now because there’s so much else to do.” Chiara Solitario, sophomore, was saddened by the information as well. “Borders is such a great store. I can always find something great to read there. I don’t understand why they can’t bail it out somehow. I mean, it is supplying books, not some stupid thing!” she said.
Mike Edwards, the CEO of Borders, said in his official statement that Borders is closing because of “the rapidly changing book industry, e-reader revolution, and turbulent economy.” It is true that with the new onslaught of technology, many people have turned to e-reading. Benefits of e-reading include being able to have hundreds or even thousands of books on one device and ease of buying the books. Solitario adds that e-readers are also more environmentally friendly “because you aren’t wasting paper and ink.” Another place people are getting books is libraries. The books there are free, although late fines are in place in some libraries. Both of these reading alternatives took away business from Borders and in the future will likely hurt other bookstores like Books-a-Million and Barnes & Noble.
The bookstores mentioned above, however, are currently benefitting from Borders closing. They have less competition and are even taking over some Borders venues. Independent bookstores also benefit. However, the future for bookstores in general is grim.
“I think [reading] will transfer to technology. Bookstores will no longer be needed because of Kindles. Maybe the library will just be a bunch of computers where you can hook up the Kindles to download the books for a certain amount of time,” Solitario predicted. Green agreed, saying, “Unfortunately, a lot [of bookstores] are going to start closing down.”
For hundreds of years, countless readers have enjoyed thumbing through worn old paperbacks, graphic novels, magazines, and more. Today it may seem like this dream is disappearing, as more teenagers and adults alike say they dislike reading. E-reader technology is shoving bookstores out of the picture, and the tradition of hard copy books could someday be a mere memory. However, books have been around for a very long time, and whether they are actual hard copy books or e-books, it’s clear that they are here to stay.