Today is Valentine’s Day.
For everyone who loves books, or to be exact, loves book stores, there is a piece of sad news in the media today.
Borders, the third largest bookstore chain in the US, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The rising popularity of e-books and the stiff competition from online retailers like Amazon are some of the causes for the declining annual revenues for Borders.
The news saddened me. At the same time, I also felt a little guilty. Consumers like me also contributed to the dismal revenue performance of bookstores around the country.
You know I have not visited Borders bookstore for years, even though we have one conveniently located on Radio Drive and Tamarack.
I read every day, but I hardly buy any books.
I am a librarian and deal with books on my job. I have plenty of books to read from my own library or from the local public library. If I read or hear about a book that interests me, I can simply get it from the libraries. No need to buy books at all.
Another reason I stay away from buying books is I usually do not read books I own. I have shelves of books I bought but have never got around to read yet.
Why? They are my own books. I can read them “some day” or “any day” when I have time.
Meanwhile, that “some day” or “any day” never comes. I never find time to read them. Instead I always find other interesting books to read. Since they are borrowed from the library, I have to read them and return them under a deadline. My own books just have to keep waiting. I don’t know if I will ever get around to read them.
So for me, there is no point of buying books if I can get them for free and if I don’t use them. It’s just a waste of money to spend $10-20 on a book. That’s why I do not go to Borders and buy books for myself any more.
The truth is I do not buy any new books except Bible study books, but occasionally I buy used books if I see something I like, at used bookstores, thrift stores or garage sales. If a book I like costs only a dollar or less, there is not much to lose even if I buy it and don’t read it. Hopefully my kids will read the books I have accumulated. If not, they can be donated. I don’t feel too much waste since I didn’t spend too much money on them anyway.
I know I am not a good consumer for business. Whether we have a Borders or not, it doesn’t affect me personally, But I do feel sorry and sad for Borders employees who will lose their jobs or customers who love visiting and browsing bookstores.