Friday, December 17, 2010

The Big Bookstores

MSNBC had an article about the state of affairs with Borders and Barnes and Noble.  I am, of course, on the side of BN.  When I was younger, my friends would hang out at Borders.  The video/music section was better.  It didn't take too long, however, before I figured out that Barnes and Noble had a better selection of actual books.

Then I discovered  And while I still hung out at the store a lot, I would figure out what I wanted and then go home and buy it online.  Sorry, gang, but it was less expensive.  At one point I believe I calculated a $100 a month BN habit.

It happened that right around the time when I got serious about my finances, I discovered used book stores.  The first was a short-run store that went in to the Randhurst Shopping Mall the year before it was demolished.  The Half Price Books expanded in my area.  And of course, my library opened its own used book store.  And every library in Cook County has been having used book sales.

Then my brother gifted me with a Kindle. 

I still spend very little money on e-books.  I mostly have the classics - freebies and 99 cent purchases.  The last thing I downloaded was A Tale of Two Cities.  Not because I don't have it, but because my copy is from one of those fancy sets that my parents had and I am hardly going to carry that around with me.  (Sidenote:  Please explain why someone would dowload the Oprah Edition of a book for ten bucks when the original is literally one click over for free?)  All the same, it is one more thing that keeps me from spending money at BN.

Once upon a time, I did half of my holiday shopping at  Now, spending ten bucks on a book seems extravagant.  So I am reading this article and it suggests that Borders is about done,  And the last, best hope for BN is the Nook:

"E-books now make up about 5 percent of all book sales. The figure is expected to triple within five years. E-reader devices don't offer great margins, but they do spur e-book sales."

And the numbers from this holiday season are going to tell the story.

I might have to get one now.

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