reactions to Borders bankruptcy

Economist:

… We can spare a little thought for Borders.

It has a particular relevance for American small towns and suburbs that isn’t apparent in urban centres.

In the latter, the chain bookstores are the impersonal monoliths that destroyed small independents by undercutting them on prices. But elsewhere, the arrival of a Borders would mean that a town was finally getting a bookstore, rather than a rack of paperbacks and Sudoku books at the supermarket.

(Similarly, while Starbucks might have hurt local coffeeshops in, for example, New York, in rural America it has achieved its stated goal of creating a “third space”.) …

Beyond Borders

L.A. Times – Carolyn Kellogg responds:

It’s an interesting argument, but the only example the Economist provides is a counter: In Austin, Texas, longstanding indie BookPeople successfully prevented a Borders from moving in nearby.

It’s nice to think that Borders provided bookstoreless towns with their first bookstores, creating new community space around books — but I’m not entirely sure that it’s true. …

Borders should die. … But I really don’t think the online experience is anywhere near as good. Yet.

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