Are WE Winning?

Borders is bancrupt! Hurray!

My little store is wining its battle against all that we loath! Next up, Chapters and Indigo? We can hope.

There are a 100 good reasons to shop at independent stores. We pay city taxes that help support the systems you rely on. We pay provincial/state taxes that you rely on. We pay rent and buy groceries and support soccer teams and literacy campaigns. We offer good books, helpful advice and an ear to listen. Neverthless, predatory actions by Big Money have been driving us out of business for years. Is it because they are better than us? Serve their communities better? Or is it that they play viscious and dangerous games with money (and so with people’s lives)? I think we all know the answer to that.

Has the trend been bucked? Is the Borders Bancruptcy the dawn of a new era? Can the indie be the local store it once was and serve its community? Will imagination and thought be re-evaluated by society and found to be important? Call me an optimist but I think so. I will not sell cds, dvds, nor toys, candles, pens, or any other non-book item. I will not sell Dan Brown, John Grisham or Nora Roberts, I will not jump on any-old-bandwagon in a desperate attempt to make enough money to pay my creditors. I will accept that e-books are being read but know that they are not the whole industry and suspect that they cannot ever be if the publishing world is to continue to exist (there are no concert revenues to prop this industry up).

The Soviet Union taught us how dangerous centralisation is. As a people, we in the west tend to dislike monopolies, for good reasons. I hope that this bancruptcy is beginning of the end of monopolies on language, literature, ideas and culture. I hope people fill the vacated spaces with independent bookshops that actually serve and support their communities or return to the ones that are still around. I hope they do not turn to the other big-uglies but realize that where they get their books matters.

I raise a glass to anyone still fighting the good fight. Books matter.

2 comments on “Are WE Winning?

  1. Robert Lynthronigan says:

    As a reader of the Montreal Gazette here in Albuquerque, NM, I felt that, though I am a frequent patron/customer of independent bookstores, I must offer a defence of Borders. Yes, they were a huge retail chain, perhaps a behemoth. Still, they offered, years ago, something called Original Voices, which, I believe, was very good at bringing good literary talent to people who customarily shopped at retail stores rather than local independents. Indeed, Borders had earned the distinction of being, by reputation here in Albuquerque, the best retail outlet at which to purchase books and music. I had also gotten to know some of the employees not as mere sales associates, but as friends. While I certainly believe that the end of Borders may be good for independent bookstores, and so look at the situation as a silver lining or a half-full glass, let us not be led into believing that Borders had ever been nothing but a better version of Wal-Mart. In closing, allow me to say: The printed word, be it English or French in Montreal, or English and Spanish here in Albuquerque, lives!

    Yours sincerely,

    Robert

  2. Jerry says:

    friend – I was surfing online and I got here across your post… I enjoyed reading it . I learned a lot about this subject that you wrote here. Thanks so much for posting an article like this one.

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