Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Closing of Borders Books

What do you guys think?

I keep running the movie "You've Got Mail" through my head. One of my favorite movie's by-the-way, only this time it's "Fox Books" that's closing. Frankly, this whole thing is a bit scary for my taste. I'm an English Literature Major. I spent 5 years of my life, and a whole lot of college tuition devoted to these little bits of binded paper called books. So maybe I'm partial, but what does everyone think about this, or am I getting my knickers in a twist for no reason at all? Honestly, I don't know the exact reason why Borders is closing. Was it bad managing, too many locations? I have no idea, maybe I should have researched this before I went spouting off on this tyrant, hmmm? But I have this un-shakeable fear that some of the contributing factor was that the importance of literature is going down the tubes. (I feel as though I am climbing the stairs of the soap box, teetering, here I go, oh no, I'm up.....sorry)

What exactly is this development saying about our society? I realize that Borders is not the end all, say all, to books as we know them. In fact, how many Mom and Pop bookstores has a major conglomerate like Borders or Barnes and Noble or Wal-Mart for that matter, put out of business? Is this revenge? Will the Mom and Pop book store rise to live again, or is this a tragic commentary on a larger issue.

As a "Borders Club Member", yes, I've been known to frequent the many isles of Borders Books, complete with over-sugared espresso concoction in hand, wiping the plastic whip cream from my nose. I received the mass e-mail that Borders was, in fact, closing its doors for good. There was a brief synopsis of the reasons, but the reference to "electronic reading" really stuck with me.

As a blog writer, perhaps I'm stepping on my own toes, but I'm willing to chance it. Even now as I write this post the e-glow of the Blogger's screen stares back at me and casts it's ghostly blue light on my soul. Perhaps that blue light is the spirit of books soon to be no more. (Ooooo eeee ooooo) Ok maybe I'm being dramatic, but do you remember the encyclopedia? The dictionary? We tried to donate ours and both the library and Salvation Army wouldn't take them. I ended up keeping ours so I can show my children what I used to look up words in. They will probably laugh and gaze nostalgically at my "oldness" the way I did when my grandmother spoke of making butter. And now, as an electronic Hobby Farming/ Homesteading blog writer, who writes about making butter, it makes my life a strange sort of irony.

The written word is vanishing. Penmanship is a nostalgic thing of the past. I only write cursive in my 80 year old Aunt's Christmas card each year because I know she thinks it's "more proper". And when I'm done, I have to shake out the cramps of unused hand muscles. How sad! But as cursive has been replaced by printing, by the by, has been replaced by typing, has been replaced by electronic sending, such as e-mails, and now has created the acronym language of texts because we are so lazy or hurried as a society that we can't even take the time to spell out a whole word, LOL!!!

I can't imagine a world without the paper book. The smell of the pages, the typed text, anxiously fingering each page. There is a romanticism that occurs when you read a book, novel, letter etc. It is irreplaceable. I see stacks of books lined up on my book shelf as tiny adventures. Each binding a small treasure, an accomplishment, like the stamps on a passport, or pins on a map, (or maybe that's the hoarder in me. Maybe I'll start collecting Chihuahuas, or shot glasses, or clown figurines?)  

So what of Kindles or Nooks, what of vs. a real live bookstore, where you can actually touch the pages? Is this the new future of reading? Maybe we'll save the rain forests in the meantime? What do you guys think because I'm confused as all get!


Shannon C said...

Ah Miss Jennifer, my kindred spirit, I too am completely upset by the loss of Borders. Even schools are replacing reading of books to reading on IPads. They no longer teach cursive writing and formal papers must all be typed not hand written in any way. And, I must admitt I own an ereader (the Kobo by Borders) because the touch screen and the chance to have thousands of books at my finger tips excited me. However, I do not use it. lol My ereader was exciting for a week or so and it has sense stayed in a drawer. I continue to by books, swap books, read books and learn from books. There is nothing like holding a book in your hand, settling down and staying up way too late just to finish the mystery. Im also a paperback girl over a hard cover, something about the way it feels in my hands while reading just completes the whole exprience. So climb on that box and blog away on how great books are!

Camille said...

I can't live without my paper books! You can drop a book in the tub and just let it dry out! LOL! But Shannon is right. This is how things are evolving. I'm still wearing a black veil around, town as Borders was an enchanted escape for me. It was where I could go to get a few moments of peace and sanity. Alas, no more. Maybe underground paperback book shops will start to crop up where you can use a secret password at the door to get in! :)

Denise said...

It is sad to have stores close. I wouldnt doubt that more will close soon. I love books too but I had a problem with having too many so I donated the ones I knew I wasnt going to read and bought a Kindle. I love it for reading all the free books out there but I still love buying books especially any crafting books cause you just cant look at black and white pics of a sweater and get a sense of what it really looks like, know what I mean? I have cut down on my spending with the Kindle and have some of the best homesteading books in physical form. It's the best of both worlds.

KenPSr said...

Hi Jennifer;
You bring up some interesting points in your blog today. I think it is actually a double-edged sword we are talking about. If you stop and think about how and what you learned as you studied it is something that actually might be foreign to the next generation. It may be progress in one sense and yet it has to omit some other parts of experiencing and learning.
In the disappearance of mom and pop stores and businesses with the advent of Wal-Mart, Barnes and Nobles, the Kindle, some small enterprises are actually coming back. They may not reach the same level of 30-40 years ago but there is a need for them to re-appear. It was not too long ago when the family farm was ( and is still) disappearing, and yet there is a growth of small entrepreneurs who are starting again including families becoming more self reliant for food stuffs and things. You and Iron Oaks are witness to that. With the current social and political climate there isn’t very much we can put our faith or hope in. We must again become individuals who rely upon ourselves.
I too have mixed feeling about the literary world of books and written material. I enjoy my bookshelves full of my written treasures. I want to see the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I want to see my collection of Isaac Azimov. I have read the Tolkein trilogy more than 6 times as well as my Azimov books. I have read Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged 3 times and will probably read all of them again and pass them on to my grandchildren. I too enjoy the feel of the pages and binding and protecting the book as I would anything that I loved and treasured. But having said that, one of my sons owns a Kindle and I envy his collection in his pocket at all times. I would love to have all my books at my fingertips where ever I may go. There is something to be said for the new electronic age and its benefits. It is our duty however to prevent the past from being forgotten yet be remembered and experienced whenever we can show and teach our younger future citizens.
I am 68 and really enjoy both worlds. I am fascinated by the electronics my grandchildren use and enjoy. Again I see the power of the new world and yet I share the old and past with all of my grandkids. They participate in outdoor activities and sports and yet can text with the “experts” of their age.
I will say again, progress may not be the perfect happening but everything must move forward and adapt or it either goes dormant or dies. We have to adapt and carry on the past at the same time understanding both worlds.

Again I have written a book to you. Keep up the good work and points of conversation.

Ken Pekarek Sr.

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