It’s the end of an era – Borders Books & Music shuts their doors

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Borders Books and Music has decided to close all their remaining stores and for my wife and I, it’s the end of an era. We visited our local Borders store here in Tallahassee this afternoon, just as we had done so many times in the past. But this time was different. The store is littered with signs indicating various discounts in the attempts to liquidate the remaining inventory, and the shelves were as disorganized as I’d ever seen them – books of various subjects strewn all over the place. It’s obvious that concern for order was the lowest of priorities now.

It’s a sad day too, because my wife and I spent so much time – and money – there over the years. Before we got married it wasn’t unusual for us to be there on a Saturday morning, reading and having coffee. At one point for me it was a daily stop as I would fill up on coffee there on a regular basis. We’d meet friends in the cafe, and just sit and read.

After our daughter was born it was always a great place to take her so she could peruse all the stuff they had for kids there. She still has as one of her favorite stuffed animals a teddy bear that I bought for her from there several years ago named Bradley. And we bought our fair share of books there, so I know I did my part to keep the store busy. So many of my books on my shelves still have the Borders label on the back.

The cafe was already closed when we went by today, and all the chairs and tables have been moved to a corner. No last cup o’ Joe for us; not that we really wanted one – it’s still 100 degrees outside and afternoon coffee just isn’t my thing when it’s so hot.

The reasons that I heard for the chain shutting down was the economy and the proliferation of e-books and I have to say that I find this a bit hard to believe. E-readers have been out for years, and although the Kindle and other e-readers have exploded in recent years, I just don’t buy it as the reason for their troubles. Any business – or person for that matter – who fails to adapt to the constantly changing marketplace is doomed to failure, period.

Borders, like so many others just failed to adapt. But on the other side, the Barnes & Noble here isn’t shutting down (at least yet). In my opinion there will always be a need for the local bookstore. I’m just one of those guys who likes the feel of a printed book in his hands when he’s reading. So, like so many other unfortunate places in Tallahassee another vacant building is going to serve as yet another reminder of how you have to be nimble and adaptable at what you’re doing or you’re going to get crushed.