Borders books is gone. The mega chain failed to find a new owner and is being dismantled.
At one time readers feared the big chains would destroy the little bookstore. Quite a few of them did fail. Now that one of the giants has fallen, there may be space for a few more independents again. It’s unlikely the small guys, combined, will have any where near the same amount of shelf space.
This is a huge loss for publishers, writers and readers. That big a market can’t disappear with it rippling through the industry. On top of the jobs lost directly, expect losses to hit publishers, distributers and writers. Pity the writers. It’s tough enough to get into print and make a living. Now it just got tougher.
E-books are growing. Amazon seems to be doing well right now. That’s fine, but I’m going to miss brick and mortar bookstores if they all disappear. There is something special about wandering through a bookstore and checking out books at random. The on-line experience doesn’t come close to caputuring the same feeling.
There are more and more “books” that are only in electronic format. It’s a cheap and easy way to “print” and distribute the written word. My concern is that much of this writing will eventually be lost. Electronic records are dependent on storage devices and machines that can read them.
On a personal level, anyone have important data stored on 5.25 inch floppy disks? How about 3.5 inch floppies? They were very common only ten years ago. Personally, the only thing I’ve got left from the 5.25 disk days are a few stacks of paper printed with old dot matrix printers. A couple years ago I went through all old 3.5 disks and saved the information to newer formats.
Now everything is backed up on multiple computers, a removable hard drive, CDs, and jump drives. For some reason, my oldest CDs don’t always read very well. My guess is that they don’t last forever either.
To this day, the only reasonably priced way to save information long term is to print it out -preferably on acid free paper using archival inks.
Of course, then we are back to books, those things that used to sold at Borders.
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