Last Days of Borders
“Congratulations sir, you are among the final customers at Borders.”
That comment was made to me in mid-September as the book store chain closed its’ Turlock location as well as all its’ remaining stores. The chain was a victim of the soured economy as well as a shift in customer tastes away from books made with paper. Digital readers are the new big things in publishing.
And while Borders had a digital reader, it apparently wasn’t enough to stem the tide of red ink. The company filed for bankruptcy well over a year ago, and made the decision to end its’ business this summer.
40 percent off
I shopped at the Turlock store shortly after the bankruptcy liquidation sale was announced. Everything was 40 percent off. I didn’t buy anything then. Week after week, the discounts kept getting bigger and bigger.
The last week the store was open, I received an email-shopping reminder from Borders.com. saying everything would be discounted 90 percent.
So I went back to the store and bought a bunch of books. Many of them I would never have purchased at anywhere near the normal 20 to 30 percent discount rate.
Some I might have considered checking out at the library or borrowing from a friend. Some I had never heard of. But I figured, what the heck, the books are on sale.
Here’s a brief synopsis of from I call Steve’s Borders’ Liquidation Reading List:
Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure by Matthew Algeo was the first book of the batch that I read. It’s about a road trip the former President and his wife Bess took from Independence, Missouri to New York City and back in 1953.
They had no Secret Service and no media advance team; but they had plenty of press attention and from all accounts, a pretty good time.
Where Have All the Leaders Gone, by Lee Iacocca. This audio book attempted to reinvigorate the flame the former head of Chrysler created with two books he wrote in the 1980’s. While he has some good leadership ideas, it was clear he and his ghostwriter had an ax to grind with the Bush 43 administration. Without the politics, it’s not bad.
Failure is Not an Option by Gene Krantz. The former Mission Control head at NASA, made famous by the Apollo 13 movie performance by actor Ed Harris, shares his perspective on crisis management and problem solving. I haven’t started it yet, but I hope it is a satisfying book.
How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill. This is about a guy who had a great job, lost the job, and ended up working at the coffee shop. I remember hearing about it when it came out a few years ago. I’m sure I’ll like it.
Remembering Denny by Calvin Trillin. I remember Calvin as a guest on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson back in the 1980’s. This book is about Calvin and his friend Denny. It’s a personal account of how things worked out for Calvin but not so much so for Denny. I look forward to reading it.
Rough Justice by Peter Elkind. This is about the scandal that brought down former New York Governor Elliott Spitzer and how he rebuilt himself following the mess. That’s the only real political book in the bunch.
As I lived in New York with Spitzer was Attorney General (and saw him a handful of times on his rise up the ladder), this should be an interesting read.
These books, along with a few others, cost me a little over fifteen dollars. I probably wouldn’t have bought any of them had I paid anywhere near the full price. But bargains sometimes make for a good motivator. Borders’ misfortune has brought many readers some good fortune.
That’s all I have to say for now. I’m nearing the end of Scout, Atticus, and Bo by Mary McDonagh Murphy, an essay compilation centered on the classic Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mocking Bird.
I have to get back to the book.
I have a lot more reading to do.
Steve Newvine lives in Merced