Source: Sherman Publications

Joe from The Block
A good book spoiled

by Joe St. Henry

September 21, 2011

Borders in Auburn Hills finally closed its doors last week.

I enjoy reading and it felt like I lost a good friend. Every time I thought the giant bookseller may turn the corner over the past couple of years, it faced another setback.

This summer the creditors came calling one last time and nobody thought it was worth the investment to save Borders from itself. It finally succumbed to online bookstores, bad real estate deals and its own inattentiveness to the market.

I guess even good friends come and go.

I remember visiting my first Borders some 20 years ago when I was caught in heavy, snow-induced traffic on Southfield Road in Beverly Hills. I was slowly heading home from work and needed to get off the road before having a stroke. The wonderland for book lovers was the perfect medicine.

I spent an hour perusing the magazine racks and shelves, moving from the sports to business to mystery sections (I was a big Tom Clancy fan then.) I ended up buying a book or two and walked out of there much more relaxed. I visited the store a couple of times a month from that point on.

I was thrilled when the Borders opened in Auburn Hills a while back. Not only was it right around the corner, but now I could easily share my love for reading with my kids. Borders gift cards were common in our house. I joined their Rewards program and received great coupons in the mail each week.

If I was looking for a book or magazine, Borders usually had it.

But when they did not have the title I was looking for or if it was out of stock, I turned to the internet and always found it. Better yet, I usually found the book at an unbeatable price. I guess a lot of other folks enjoyed the same online buying experience as me.

Not surprisingly, our local Borders was very crowded during its closeout sales. During the final weekend, some of the titles were 90 percent off the list price, although it was slim pickings. I did find a few titles to pick up at great prices, although I bet I could have found them online, too.

Alas, I guess I am just as guilty as anyone for bringing the king of bookstores to its knees. As consumers, we are all looking for the best deals today. If a business cannot provide them, we go to somebody else. Itís a lesson for all retailers and other businesses in the current market, each fighting for every consumer dollar with consumer demand slugglish at best. Adapt or die a slow death.

Thatís capitalism. Good bye Borders. RIP.

(Maybe the independent bookstore will now make a comeback?)