Now that Borders has filed for bankruptcy and will be closing some of its stores (see if yours made the cut), this means something that is, indeed, still very good for books: liquidation sales. If you’re one of those people who spent quiet evenings perusing the shelves of your local Borders without making a purchase, then now is the time to go for it. Your brain will be psyched and your wallet won’t complain too much!
Borders’ failure to enter the digital age of reading is only one factor in its downturn. Another is competition with big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target, even though their selections are not nearly as wide-ranging than that of Borders. But what’s done is done, and Borders will empty its 200 doomed stores by offering deep discounts on their books, from 10 to 40 percent off, and maybe even more as they get closer to closing for good by the end of April.
It’s impossible to dispute how e-books and digital readers have changed reading for people and made it incredibly convenient. But trying to imagine a world without print publishing is extremely sad, and digital readers can never fully take the place of a lovingly and creatively produced book. Sure, the Nook is in color now, but consider the books from the writers of The Daily Show, America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction and Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race. The whole point of them is that they were designed to look and feel like school text books. And big, glossy art books with visual media just won’t translate onto a little screen.
There’s also the nostalgia factor. Think about your favorite books as a kid, how they would get more beat up with every additional read, from every trip in your backpack and the dog-eared pages. Sometimes you wrote notes in them. You could even find forgotten money in them. The Kindle is awesome, but you can’t do any of that with a Kindle. It’s also easier to let people borrow actual books, unless you’ve cultivated a wide lending network.
So now is the chance to stock up on cheap books and turn this sad economic casualty into an opportunity to rediscover reading for fun. (Then after that, find another Borders to visit. Or a Barnes & Noble. But remember that actual books still exist.)
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