Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing


on February 20, 2011

On Saturday night, I went to the Borders “Going out of Business Sale.”  This particular Borders is not the bookstore where I usually shop. There is a Borders closer to my house along with a Barnes and Noble. However, I am a Borders Rewards Member, and I received the e-mail telling me that Borders would be having a going out of business sale. I’ve always liked to spend Friday nights browsing the bookshelves–Borders or Barnes and Noble. I like the smell of coffee as it drifts over the books, and I like picking up all the books and reading the first pages.  I used to buy a handful of books on those Friday night trips.

Then, a couple things happened. First, the YA and MG books had great covers, great book jackets, but when I got them home, and started to read them, I discovered that a lot of them just weren’t that well written. They were packaged pretty, but what was inside, wasn’t so good. So, I started getting more and more of my YA and MG books from the library. I also discovered that the library had a lot better selection of YA and MG books, and they kept them around for much longer.  The second thing that happened was I read a lot, and I read in a lot of different genres. Mystery. Romance. Non-Fiction. Memoir. YA. MG. I soon discovered that it worked better for me to use Amazon. Discounts are a pretty good thing when you are a bulk reader. As I found books I liked, I put them in my cart, and then when I got three or four, I hit buy, and got free shipping.

But, tonight, when I arrived at Borders, I was sad to see the Yellow “Going out Business Sale” plastered to all the windows. I worked in bookstores all the way through college and into my mid-twenties. I watched as Borders and Barnes and Noble gobbled up the Independent Bookstores. Both Independent Bookstores where I once worked are no longer in existence. Now, it seems like the circle has changed again and it’s Borders turn to go out of business.

Going out Business Sales attract people, and as I wandered the crowded aisles, I realized the bargains weren’t that good. Romance was 30% and mystery was 20% and for the trade paperbacks, this was mostly better than Amazon. (All of which I checked with my Smartphone while standing in the aisles of Borders) But, Amazon still had better prices on the hardcovers, YA, and all of the non-fiction.

When it was time to check out, the line was three deep and it took me thirty minutes. Thirty minutes of watching people creep slowly to the front with their arms full of books.  And as I watched I wondered what would have happened if Borders had discounted just a little more. Obviously, it didn’t take much to draw the crowds. Would they still be going out of business?

I also overheard the woman behind me say, “This is kinda sad.” And yes, I agree. It is kinda sad. I spent three minutes in the children’s section and I wanted to cry. Not because I felt like I always had a quality selection to choose from, because, most of the time, I just felt frustrated with Border’s selection. No, I felt sad to see those children’s books, which have meant so much to me, in such upheaval.  There was Corduroy staring out at me in his green jumper on his red cover.  And there was Eloise, still in her Valentine display which no one had taken down.

But, as I stood in line, I also had a lot of hope because what I saw is that people ARE reading. People are reading a LOT! Everyone’s arms were full of books. A couple people had small shopping baskets filled with books. And as I stood there, I thought, how we buy books may change, but what is NOT going to change is that we are always going to need someone to write the content for what is inside those books whether that content be travel or cooking or memoir. And one day, a book may not be in the form we know today, and one day, we may not browse large bookstores to buy books, but the one thing I know is that people will always need what is inside the pages of a book, and that is my job as a writer.






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