Sweet, Bookstores Are Closing!

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11/30/2009 12:19 PM |

On the plus side most of the retail locations can be turned into Macaroni Grill franchises with just minor renovations.
  • On the plus side most of the retail locations can be turned into Macaroni Grill franchises with just minor renovations.

There are of course some things to be said for big-box chain bookstores like Borders. Those things are: 1) They have lots of books to wander through on a family trip to the mall and 2) Many locations so you can ask for a gift certificate for the holidays even if you don’t live at home anymore.

That said, it’s hard to get too broken up about the failure of Borders UK (and, one assumes, the eventual demise of the floundering Borders US). Large chain stores can’t really compete with web retailers for stock or independents for browse-ability. Borders and B&N sucked the life out of local competition, and a bigger fish is returning the favor.

This is a situation somewhat analogous to the decline and fall of Blockbuster, which our own Henry Stewart wrote about earlier this year; then as now, it’s a shame young provincials such as my teenage self won’t have miles of shelves as turf for self-discovery—but the proudly recalcitrant minority that constitutes book culture—perhaps moreso than cinephilia’s tech-savvy viewers who appreciate mainstream commercial cinema in any case—can support the kind of smaller physical stores that were always a better fit for those sorts of excursions anyway (as long as your parents don’t mind dropping you in the vicinity).