Thursday, February 17, 2011

From the World of Books...

The high today in Louisville: 72 degrees.

Can I have an AMEN?!

In other news, I received the mass e-mail from Borders CEO Mike Edwards yesterday confirming what had been rumored for months, that the company is filing Chapter 11. While the company isn't completely going out of business, it is closing several of its stores, including two in my hometown.

So, what does this mean? Well, it shows the tremendous impact that online book sellers, such as Amazon, as well as such technologies as Kindles and e-Readers, are having on the book industry. And, I find this all so very interesting, given that it was behemoth stores like Borders and Barnes & Noble that drove smaller independents out of business in the 1990s. Remember "You've Got Mail?"


"They're going hate us at the beginning, but..."

"But we'll get 'em in the end."


"Do you know why?"


"Why?"


"Because we're going to sell them cheap books and legal addictive stimulants."
 
     - Joe Fox to Kevin Jackson, "You've Got Mail."
 
I admit, I do like the convenience of Amazon delivering books straight to my door, or with a Kindle, right to my hand. But, I also like to frequent one of the most beloved and oldest independent bookstores in town, Carmichael's. With two locations, this little shop is managing to thrive, or at least survive, in this economy. Why? Well, my theory is it's because both locations are in older, more urban neighborhoods near other local shops and restaurants, and within walking distance of where many of its customers live. Residents of these neighborhoods are passionate about supporting local retailers. And, Carmichael's made the wise move of partnering with local coffee maker, Heine Bros., so that customers can have easy access to the coffee shop while they peruse through the book stacks. The whole David and Goliath aspect of the small independents competing against such giant chains as Barnes & Noble with their in-store Starbucks, resonates strongly with people in our community.

So, what do you think of the Border's situation? And, do you support a local bookstore? If so, which one and why?
Image from IMG, via Google Images

16 comments:

High Heeled Life said...

I agree we us consumers need to support the small businesses.... after all that is where true "customer service" still lives. In our small town we really don't have a book store :( .. we need to go into the closest city to a Chapters...

We purchased a Stearns & Foster mattress set a couple of years ago, I'll tell you worth every penny!!!

72 degrees!!!! Oh I'm so wanting that weather!!! xo HHL

Heather said...

I'm sad anytime a book-related thing closes...

Home Is Where the Hart Is said...

First, let me say I LOVE my Kindle. While I was completely against the idea initially and didn't want one...I received it as a gift from my parents. I have been in love since the day I activated mine. It's so easy and awesome!
Second, I still LOVE bookstores and going in to the actual store to browse and buy...actual books! I support Joseph Beth. While still a chain it isn't as big as Borders or B&N and makes me feel like I'm supporting my local market. I love Jo Beth!

JMW said...

I love Joe-Beth, too. When I was in college at UK, I spent hours in that place, long before it's big expansion. :)

vir beātum said...

Well, it was coming for a while. Like everything these days, the way to survive is to find a niche. If you try to sell everything, and you're not an online Goliath, you will fail. Case in point, the brilliant bookstore Dussmann here in Berlin has just opened a new English books dept., which is a small store in its own right. Here that qualifies as niche and will definitely succeed. There's also a French literature shop in town that does very well, and dozens of antiquarians, with their owners sitting inside playing chess. If we keep hold of these guys, I will be happy enough to see the likes of Borders, if not toppled, then humbled.

Here's a pic of the new store in Berlin:
Englischer buecher

AEOT said...

I get most of my books at the library, but when I know it'll be one I'll love forever and want to read over and over again, i always buy from a local bookstore called McLean and Eakin in Petoskey, MI. It is seriously the BEST bookstore I've been to (not at all biased of course since I only worked there for 5 summers :)!).

teresa-bug said...

It is beautiful here in Charlotte, too!!
I use the library, mostly. They are hurting as well--they are closed 3 days a week.

James said...

Nothing can take the place of the smells and sights of a small bookstore, nothing. Sadly there are no book stores in our town any longer. Even Waldenbooks at our mall closed a couple of years ago.But then I still miss milkmen , Omar the Breadman, and the Jewel Tea truck! God I'm old.

EntertainingMom said...

the bookstore You Have Mail is based on is an actual children's bookstore on the upper east side called The Corner Bookstore. It is wonderful and is still operated by the same people who owned it when I was a child. (And I am old!) If I can get to a small, independently owned bookstore I will go. In my town we have a Border's and Barnes and Noble is the town over. I love and frequent both. I can peruse the books for hours on end. I am not into ordering mine online, because, for me, the whole concept of book shopping is browsing... holding, feeling, sifting... It's a very hands on experience for me.

I hope Border's can pull through this!

Tiffany from HOLIDAY said...

I rcvd that email, too, the day after I posted the msnbc article on my FB page. I'm so sad! I'm praying my store doesn't close (how did you find out yours are indeed closing?). We don't have a charming little bookshop and our B&N resembles a hospital waiting room. I LOVE Borders!

JMW said...

Tiffany, our local newspaper did a story about the two locations closing. Unfortunately, one is near my office downtown. But, the one that's closer to my house is remaining open, so that's good. :)

About Last Weekend said...

I spent a fortune on books, read them and then give them away and my husband is trying to persaude me to get a Kindle. But I love the tactility of books. I do always buy from a local place but to be honest I don't always find them so helpful or inviting, which is a bit odd...Have a great weekend!

Karena said...

It is the way of the world now, however I would cry if the Barnes & Noble up the street closed!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Tessa said...

As long as they don't close my Joseph Beth and my Blue Manatee (local children's bookstore) I am ok. I have no desire for a Kindle despite all the rave reviews. I also love to hang out in bookstores - I'm wild and crazy like that! I hope there are still enough likeminded souls out there to keep bookstores in business! Hope you are having a great weekend! btw...LOOVVEEED the Elizabeth McKay dress and link you posted a few days back. I'd never heard of her, but her stuff is ADORABLE, especially her dresses - oh my! Tessa

Haven and Home said...

I do try to support local stores. It can be hard though when you can get books so much cheaper online. Which I know small stores can't help, so it is a dilemma.

Jo said...

I love the feel of holding the book in my hand and flipping through the pages before my purchase. Rarely do I order any online unless they aren't available in the store. I'm willing to pay a little extra at our bookstore in Mystic. I prefer not to frequent the Borders in our area.

Jo