Breaking down Borders

March 4, 2011

Borders is biting the proverbial dust, filing for Chapter (no pun intended) 11. It’s only a matter of time before all their stores turn off their lights one last time. How has one of my favorite companies managed to fall apart at the seams?

For this reader, Borders trumps both Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.com hands down. Their locations are more convenient for me than B&N. Their cafes were designed in such a way that I could host writing groups with enough seats and power outlets for all. Their customer service never left me disappointed. Everything about the Borders experience just worked.

My book preferences range from reference, to sci-fi, to fantasy, to art, to journals, to games, to magazines, to a tasty beverage. Borders came through every time. If what I wanted weren’t in that particular store, an employee would tell me which store nearby would have it, and would even have them set aside a copy for me.

Their staff was always helpful when my writing group would converge on several café tables, annex several comfy chairs and a power outlet or four in the name of literary productivity. We returned the favor in kind, purchasing more coffee than a regular person should probably have in one sitting.

Borders always went the extra mile, even if I was just browsing for books to add to my “buy these eventually” list. I haven’t had that type of experience with the other bookstore chains. Independent bookstores give a personal touch to any sale, but their book offerings are “What you see is what we have”. If it’s not there, there’s nothing they can do.

When Borders does close down completely, or go the way of Tower Records, it’ll take a while to find a viable alternative for my regular dosage of the written word. Here’s one customer that hopes they’ll be able to come back from this, ideally stronger than before.

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