Jump to content


Photo

Booksellers Feel the Pinch


  • Please log in to reply
60 replies to this topic

#41 Jason Panella

Jason Panella

    "I like the quiet."

  • Member
  • 3,560 posts

Posted 09 March 2011 - 04:08 PM

I've received e-mails about some of the closing Pittsburgh stores on a daily basis, it seems. Having looted closing Borders stores before, I know how to hunt — wait 'til there is a week or less left and steal away with the few gems that are ignored in favor of the more popular stuff. When a local Borders Express closed two years ago, I managed to snag a few genuinely good novels at 75% off.

#42 Russ

Russ

    Member

  • Member
  • 1,083 posts

Posted 09 March 2011 - 04:11 PM

I've gone to the store Borders is closing in Monroeville, PA a couple of times over the past couple of weeks to see if there was anything worth picking up, and it was similarly (1) busy and (2) picked over. The hilarious irony of the situation is that people are buying merchandise at discounts that aren't much better, if at all, than the discounts Borders regularly offered through their constant barrage of e-mail coupons. But there's something about the phrases STORE CLOSING! and EVERYTHING MUST GO! that brings out the buyer in us.

#43 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,472 posts

Posted 28 March 2011 - 01:42 PM

D.C.-area residents nervously await the fate of Politics & Prose which is officially on the block.

Buyer found.

And, if it's not too inflammatory to mention, I liked Kelly Jane Torrance's description of the outcome:

Washington institution Politics and Prose has settled on a buyer. The owners of the bookstore insisted they would only sell to someone with whom they felt comfortable. That's turned out to be a Bethesda couple, both of whom worked for the Washington Post and various Democrats.

I wouldn't have expected anything else. :) And I say that as a fan of the store.

Edited by Christian, 28 March 2011 - 01:42 PM.


#44 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,472 posts

Posted 19 July 2011 - 03:40 PM

Traveling home today after a long weekend, I heard a top-of-the-hour news headline that Borders will close and liquidate the inventory of its stores. I am in mourning.

Just last week, I made a second and final trip to my local video store's liquidation sale. For $24.67, I acquired 10 DVDs and a many more VHS tapes ($0.25 each). That's on top of a visit a week or two earlier, when I bought about 6 or 7 other DVDs.

Now I'll be planning a visit or four to Borders' coming liquidation sale.

And then the store will close. And the Era of Hard Media will come to an unofficial close.

We all saw this coming, but not quite yet, right? I mean, there's still Barnes and Noble, which I've never liked but might find myself warming to soon. At least I got one year's worth of Borders Rewards discounts (I like to think I soaked 'em!). Just last weekend I was visiting with a member of my local city council, asking if a B&N might rent space in the downtown empty office space, and he replied, "We're just lucky to still have a Borders after the chain closed so many stores."

Yeah, we were lucky. Until we weren't.

So, there goes a bit of culture from my town. There goes a gathering place. There goes a very loosely knit community (book lovers, coffee lovers, bookstore lovers). Hey, maybe we'll get another bank or drug store in its place! Yeah, that'll be great.

I'll get over this eventually. I'll reorient, find new ways to connect with people and art and shared enthusiasms. I'll have some good memories. I'm just not sure when I'll get to a point where I'm squarely in a new era, looking back on the now-closing era as something distinctly in the past, and something that needed to go away.

#45 Jason Panella

Jason Panella

    "I like the quiet."

  • Member
  • 3,560 posts

Posted 19 July 2011 - 03:52 PM

That was well-written and touching, Christian. I have a lot of thoughts and emotions running through me since I heard the announcement, so maybe I'll chime back in later. I worked for Borders for years and, even though I've been working in higher education for the past four years, I still see myself as a bookseller.

What's really frustrating me is that our county no longer has a bookstore.

#46 Russ

Russ

    Member

  • Member
  • 1,083 posts

Posted 19 July 2011 - 03:58 PM

I'm gonna go to the store near my house tonight and buy a book for the beach. I plan to ask the cashier whether I can buy a Borders Rewards Plus membership. I think I'm finally ready to pony up.

I think Barnes and Noble will soldier on, largely because they expanded slower and moved quicker into their current business model, namely, the nominal bookstore that sells lots of toys and coffee. Borders tried to do that, too, but at the end of the day, what these superstores always had going for them was breadth of inventory, and it's tough to blame creditors for not wanting to extend them more rope.

Today's books and tomorrow's DVDs are just yesterday's LPs, right? The digitization of text and film will give lots of people an excuse to have less "stuff" around, which will shove everything already published or pressed into a secondary market that will be increasingly vibrant. Half-Price Books and its ilk will abide.

#47 Russ

Russ

    Member

  • Member
  • 1,083 posts

Posted 19 July 2011 - 04:04 PM

What's really frustrating me is that our county no longer has a bookstore.


Dude, the City of Pittsburgh no longer has a non-secondhand bookstore within its limits, unless you count university student bookstores.

#48 Jason Panella

Jason Panella

    "I like the quiet."

  • Member
  • 3,560 posts

Posted 19 July 2011 - 05:14 PM

Dude, the City of Pittsburgh no longer has a non-secondhand bookstore within its limits, unless you count university student bookstores.


I think there are a few B&Ns still lingering in places like South Hills and the Robinson area. (Lingering might be the wrong word, since they're still hopping.)

Your point about second-hand places is spot-on too. I went to Half Price Books this past Saturday (I'm sure Russ knows which one), and the place was PACKED.

#49 Darren H

Darren H

    Member

  • Member
  • 2,260 posts

Posted 19 July 2011 - 09:30 PM

Knoxville will be reduced to a single Barnes & Noble and a Books-a-Million -- this for a metro area of around 500,000. I'll now have a 20-minute drive to find a store with a book selection greater than Target's. My daughter's only 15 months old, but we'd already made a habit of visiting Borders, playing in the children's section, and picking out one book to take home. I really hate that we're losing that.

#50 Scholar's Parrot

Scholar's Parrot

    The Best You Ever Had

  • Member
  • 353 posts

Posted 19 July 2011 - 11:52 PM

I'm gonna go to the store near my house tonight and buy a book for the beach. I plan to ask the cashier whether I can buy a Borders Rewards Plus membership. I think I'm finally ready to pony up.


I work(soon to be past tense) at a Borders down here in Arlington, TX. I found out we were closing yesterday when the manager called me back from the register and told me take down all BR+ cards, literature, and gift cards. As sad as it is, work has actually been quite nice since the hammer fell. There's a large sense of relief now that there's nothing looming overhead. Now my last two jobs have been made obsolete by technology: I moved down here after I lost my job as a projectionist when we went completely digital, now I've lost my job as a bookseller when everyone else went digital. I'm 24 and looking and early onset curmudgeonitis.

#51 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,472 posts

Posted 21 August 2011 - 06:52 PM

Good news here in Bethany Beach, Del., where I had heard Bethany Beach Books was for sale a year or two ago. I subsequently heard that the store had closed, and an old Web link didn't work. Turns out I went to an old site. The store's still here, still open, and even though I have no plans to buy any books this trip, I'm excited to see that it's still a going concern.

Back in D.C., we've seen a few new independent shops and owners recently profiled.

#52 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,472 posts

Posted 24 August 2011 - 07:48 AM

Things aren't so great down the road at the junkier, cluttered Atlantic Books, which is closing. Everything's 25% off. I bought a cookbook.

I had posted long ago about a book I bought there years ago on film scores, but the name escapes me at the moment and, with so little to go on, the search box isn't helping.

#53 Scholar's Parrot

Scholar's Parrot

    The Best You Ever Had

  • Member
  • 353 posts

Posted 12 September 2011 - 11:23 PM

Well, my last day was Saturday and our Borders down here in Arlington, TX officially closed today. Due to the sudden closure (The Container Store all of a sudden needed to move in ASAP) our discounts plummeted and I was able to pick up the following:

The Shallows (Hardback)
The Pale King (Hardback)
The Information (Hardback)
Alphabetter Juice (Hardback)
Naming Infinity (Hardback)
The Cloister Walk
Traveling Mercies
Rumi's Book of Love
Seeing (Sequel to Blindness)
Defiant Joy (That Chesterton Biog)

All for less than $30. A decent parting gift, but I would much rather have kept my job. :/

#54 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,472 posts

Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:01 PM

Good grabs, Parrot.

I picked up Patrick deWitt's The Sisters Brothers (was ecstatic to see a copy on the shelf), the first of Richard Stark's Parker mysteries and The Film Paintings of David Lynch: Challenging Film Theory, all for 90% off.

I'll visit one more Borders, maybe tonight, but definitely Saturday to pick up our book cases. That store closes Sunday.

#55 Jason Panella

Jason Panella

    "I like the quiet."

  • Member
  • 3,560 posts

Posted 16 September 2011 - 10:05 AM

I thought our store closed today, but oops...it closed earlier. I went to our mall yesterday to put money down on a shelf, and was kind of shocked to see the gate down and the store totally empty. Oh well. Any idea when the big Borders at Northway closes, Russ?

Still, I'm glad I was able to pick up two books for under $8 a few weeks ago: China Mieville's Kraken and David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

Edited by Jason Panella, 16 September 2011 - 10:05 AM.


#56 Tyler

Tyler

    I always dreamed we'd be back here.

  • Member
  • 5,669 posts

Posted 16 September 2011 - 10:40 AM

Still, I'm glad I was able to pick up two books for under $8 a few weeks ago: China Mieville's Kraken and David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.


I've started the de Zoet audiobook three different times. Never got more than a third of the way into it.

I read Mieville's Embassytown this summer, and I'm reading Perdido Street Station for class in a few weeks.

#57 Jason Panella

Jason Panella

    "I like the quiet."

  • Member
  • 3,560 posts

Posted 16 September 2011 - 11:00 AM

I read Mieville's Embassytown this summer, and I'm reading Perdido Street Station for class in a few weeks.


I loved Perdido, and I'm envious that you're reading that for class. I've enjoyed all of the Mieville I've read, so I'm looking forward to Kraken. I want to read the other unread Mieville on my shelf first, though (Iron Council, another one of his Bas Lag-set novels).

#58 Christian

Christian

    Member

  • Moderator
  • 10,472 posts

Posted 16 September 2011 - 12:47 PM

I called the closest Borders to see if they were still open. "We are but will close soon," the man on the other end of the line told me. "Everything is 50 cents, so it's going fast."

I drove there about an hour later to get Bob Dylan's Christmas in the Heart, which I'd seen on the shelf a day earlier but resisted buying. The store was closed.

#59 Scholar's Parrot

Scholar's Parrot

    The Best You Ever Had

  • Member
  • 353 posts

Posted 16 September 2011 - 02:33 PM

I called the closest Borders to see if they were still open. "We are but will close soon," the man on the other end of the line told me. "Everything is 50 cents, so it's going fast."

I drove there about an hour later to get Bob Dylan's Christmas in the Heart, which I'd seen on the shelf a day earlier but resisted buying. The store was closed.


Most likely a reseller came in and offered to buy everything left for X amount. That's what happened to most of the Borders in my area.

#60 Jason Panella

Jason Panella

    "I like the quiet."

  • Member
  • 3,560 posts

Posted 16 September 2011 - 02:41 PM

Most likely a reseller came in and offered to buy everything left for X amount. That's what happened to most of the Borders in my area.


I'm guessing that happened with my Borders, too. Man, I really wanted to look around the store one last time. I have lots of good memories working there on and off over the decade. I'd even say that it was the most purely enjoyable job I've had.