The news this week of the immediate closing of Borders Bookstores is a great tragedy in so many ways that most people do not realize!
How is this a terrible development that will have an effect on the American people and the economy?
1. It cuts alternative choices for books, music and movies in a major way, and less competition means higher prices at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and other alternative locations for these products!
2. It means we are closer to the time when the bookstore as a place to browse, socialize, meet people, and have vigorous discussions among friends, is going to disappear, as the signs are clear that eventually there will be no such bookstores in a few years, except maybe in major metropolitan areas!
3. It means the era of the printed hard cover and paperback books is coming to an end soon, as electronic reading will soon be the only way available, much as it is becoming true in the newspaper and periodical industry, and that is a major tragedy of tremendous proportions!
4. Almost 400 stores are closing, affecting the local economy of many shopping malls and retail locations, and causing the loss of approximately 10,700 workers jobs, adding to the unemployment rate in many states in the Union!
5. The reverberating effect of these closures will cause the loss over time of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the book industry, the printing industry, the music and movie production industry, and many other retail establishments, as shopping declines in many areas will cause loss of other jobs and closing of other business establishments!
6. The ability in the past to get “lost” in bookstores in the excitement of discovery through wandering through book shelves and picking up titles and being able to glory in the life of the mind is rapidly disappearing and will never be recovered, and that experience will not be shared by young people in the future! One might say local libraries can do this, but local libraries will not buy hard copies of books as much anymore, and many libraries nationally are being cut back or eliminated because of lack of funding!
So the future literacy and experience of the life of the mind in the form of physical books is going to be lost overtime, no matter how one looks at it! Barnes and Noble will survive, hopefully, but may very well give up physical bookstores except in major cities, and be only available online and in electronic form, much like Amazon.
And that is, again, a terrible tragedy in itself!