The Going Out of Business sale at Borders Books

is more than any self-respecting book junkie can resist, of course.  I pulled into the parking lot at my local Borders about 10:45 this morning and had to search for a parking space.  The store teemed with shoppers filling baskets, and there was already a sort of jumble sale air about the place.  Signs proclaimed “Discounts Up to 40%,” but most of the rack signs promised ten to thirty percent.  They were still honoring Borders cards for another ten percent off, so I walked out with five paperbacks, two DVDs, and a greeting card for $53.

I surely didn’t need more books (or movies):  I got two in the mail a few days ago, and downloaded five to my Kindle this week, thanks to a sale at Amazon.  So I took advantage of this trip to buy books by authors I haven’t read yet, women I either met or heard good things about at the recent RWA conference, all somewhere on the paranormal to science fiction romance scale: Molly Harper, Zoe Archer, Marjorie Liu, Robin D. Owens, and Ann Aguirre.  Also replaced my ancient videotape copy of Cabaret with a DVD and picked up a copy of Master and Commander, which I keep missing on TV, just for the pleasure of spending an evening looking at Russell Crowe.  I was also looking for the daybooks I use for record keeping, which I bought at Borders last year, but apparently they’d had the foresight not to order anything dated 2012.

I’m always sorry to see any book store close, be it a Big Box giant or a tiny used paperback shop in a strip mall.  Borders isn’t the first to vanish.  I remember a chain called MediaPlay that flourished briefly in the mid to late 90s selling books, music, movies (on videocassettes) and computer software.  And BookStop, which was devoured by Barnes & Noble.  Then the big guys pushed a lot of the little ones under.

But in all honesty, I can’t say that I’ve done much to support the brick and mortars over the last few years.  I’ve belonged to various branches of the Doubleday Book Club for decades: the Science Fiction Book Club and the Mystery Guild since the late 1960s, and Rhapsody, the romance club, more recently.  The SF and Mystery clubs kept me going for years when I lived far from the nearest book store, long before Amazon invented on line book sales.

These days I buy books on line from the clubs and from Amazon.  I buy regularly from a wonderful independent book store called Katy Budget Books, but I have only set foot in that store a few times (it’s about fifty-five miles from my home); KBB is the book supplier for West Houston RWA, bringing books by our guest speakers, our members, and other books of interest to our chapter meetings every month.  Now and again I stop at the local Barnes & Noble, usually when I have a gift card.  I shop at Half-Price Books a lot.

As for Borders, about a year and a half ago I did a lot of Christmas shopping there, and in the process picked up one of their upgraded loyalty cards.  It paid for itself on that shopping spree, and brought me 40% discount coupons by email on a regular basis.  I used those mostly to order DVD sets (mostly of old BBC TV series) from Borders.com.  I understand Borders came late to the ebook party, but so did I.  I bought a Kindle, and I don’t know much about the Kobo, but I believe it falls well below the Kindle and the B&N Nook in sales.

Maybe the decline of the Big Box book stores and the rise of independent publishing will open new doors for small specialized booksellers.  There are still a a few of those thriving in the Houston area.  Those of us who love books and book stores should be doing more to support them.

Just what I need–a reason to buy more books.

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