Borders is Closing – What Does it Mean

by Christine Sine

This morning I read with sadness this article on Publishers Weekly about the demise of Borders Books.

The future of Borders has become much clearer with a motion filed late Friday that asks the court to approve a new motion that will permit it to sell “substantially all of its assets” by July 29. If the motion is not approved, or an agreement to sell the company is not reached, Borders said it will liquidate the bookstore chain as quickly as possible.  Read the entire article

I had already read about this in Australia where not only is Borders closing but Angus & Robertsons which is also part of the REDgroup.  The tragedy is that this bookstore chain first opened its doors in 1884 in Sydney and to me is one of the icons of Australian books.  Part of the problem is that it is now cheaper for Australians to buy books online overseas and have them shipped to Australia.

At least it looks cheaper up front but what I wonder is the ongoing cost to society?   Hundreds of jobs are being lost in Australia, and NZ.  The stores in the US may still escape if a sale occurs in July but the impact on thousands of lives is still huge.

The consequences of of actions spreads out in ripples that many of us are not even aware of.  Cheap books online for those who love to read seems like a godsend but it definitely has its downside & the impact of a global marketplace on everything we buy and use is incredible.  Many of us are starting to think about buying locally where food is concerned, but it is hard for us to think to other areas of consumption as well.

Perhaps preserving local bookstores by buying books locally is as important as buying produce that is grown locally. Which brings me to another article on the Publishers’ Weekly website that is easy to overlook.  It talked about the closing of Butterfly Books – the largest independent children’s bookstore in Wisconsin.  Small independent bookstores matter just as local businesses and food production matters.  At least that is what I think.  What do you think?

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