It’s a dark time for book lovers. Borders Books is going into bankruptcy.
Stores where I’ve spent a great deal of time, including one I visited very frequently in college, are being closed and they’re in danger of going the way of Blockbuster. It’s like saying farewell to an old friend, frankly. I don’t want Borders to go away. If not for Borders, I might have spent more time at home or trying to date girls.
End of an Era
Borders was founded in 1971, the same year that Starbucks opened.
Imagine if Starbucks went away! Where would people go for coffee? They’d be forced to go to something like a small shop, 7-11, any restaurant, and fast food establishment or even be made to make their own coffee like savages and poor people!
After forty years, we’d be severely limited in our options for book purchasing if Borders went away for good. Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million…I struggle to think of any other options. Just as the airline industry has never truly recovered from the loss of TWA and Eastern Airlines, the book selling industry would never truly recover from the loss of Borders.
Think of what a blow it’s been to the world it was to lose Tower Records. All of those people with multiple piercings, unable to find a job willing to let them be themselves. Forced to conform to make money, just the way Fascists like it.
Think about all of the people who work there. Graduate students and English Majors who know so much more about what I should be reading than I do, for instance. I was always able to tell whether I was reading something worthwhile by the amount of visible disdain that some hip employee had when I purchased it. The fact that they were pursuing or had an English degree practically proved how qualified they were to judge.
Oh, the tremendous guilt when I bought something that would never make a reading list! When I had to explain I was looking for a book by Mankind, and Mankind was a professional wrestler, oh the crestfallen look of the student at the help desk.
Merry Christmas, brother, I disappointed someone getting a degree in pretentiousness!
Those employees are either out of a job, or facing unemployment, while the fat-cat owners of the chain continue to protect their assets by filing for Bankruptcy protection. I bet they could keep the chain afloat if they just gave up their outrageous salaries and benefits and shared that money with their employees. Employees who do the daily work, clean their bathrooms and deal with unenlightened customers and aren’t even unionized to fight this injustice.
Who will protest for them?
How to Save Them
And so I’m calling on our government to move quickly, and authorize more money to bail out Borders immediately. We can’t really afford to lose more jobs and more revenue generators in this economy and Borders is a piece of that puzzle. Sure, another company could buy it out and consolidate, or something gross like that. It’s entirely possible that a corporate raid, disgustingly like the robber barons used to do, could result in the blow hardly being felt in the world economy.
But those college students can’t work for office jobs. Where would they get the inspiration for their dissertation tracing the influence of War & Peace through literature, with a special focus on books chosen for Oprah’s Book Club?
I’m also calling on all of my fellow book lovers to pay whatever price they have to, and shop at Borders. I don’t care if you can find the book for 33% less at an online retailer. Go to Borders and pay more. They need your money more than some faceless corporate machine that’s still making a profit.
If we don’t act now, I worry what will happen. Just another part of the world changed for the worse. I thought we wouldn’t have to worry about major losses like this anymore, and I don’t like it.