Went into town today, mainly to buy a new phone (more on that later), and popped into Borders, having heard they are in serious financial trouble. As I walked in there was evidence everywhere I looked that all was not well.
To the right: completely empty magazine racks. No credit means no new mags.
Straight ahead: Yellow 20% off signs plastered everywhere.
To the left: "Closing down - everything must go" posters indiscreetly stacked up next to the entrace in readiness for the fire sale*.
I like Borders. I like the ambience. I like the fact you can sit and read comic books and no one hassles you (although I can see that my selfish comic book reading won't have helped their profit margins at all). They often have books I don't see anywhere else. They have a Starbucks inside the shop. It was the first home for our Book Group. For geeky bibliophiles, there is always something else to make you go 'ooh'.
Although they shouldn't have tried to sell DVDs. They were very expensive. Maybe they should have only stocked literary ones - book adaptations for example. But even then, DVDs are not money-spinners. They are so cheap now in supermarkets I think the day is coming when they won't be available on the high street at all. So, that was perhaps one mistake they made.
One sad thing is that I have already started talking about Borders in the past tense. (I went back and changed 'was' to 'is' in the last paragraph but one.) I have a nagging fear that they are going to be this year's big name to disappear. A victim of the credit crunch. A mundane tragedy, but tragic none the less. In some ways my visit today was a preliminary requiem.
*They looked exactly like the ones that appeared in Woolworths last year as that shopping chain tanked. Somewhere a signwriter is rubbing his hands with glee.