Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Run for the Borders

Borders is going out of business. Whoda thunk? Borders was my go-to place to browse. Some people walk the malls and try on clothes. I go to Borders and just...browse. I look at the magazines and check my favorite sections of the store. I love looking at the computer section, because all those big books are too expensive to buy, but I can look up things that I'm interested in. I love looking at the travel section, at all the books about places I've been and places I'd like to go.

I check the 2-for-1 table and the table where there are big discounts for buying more than one book.

I look at the calendars and see which I want to get for the next year...and try to get there early to buy next year's Sierra Club desk calendar, to which I have become a slave in the past several years.

I look through the paper good section and see what sorts of ridiculously overpriced cards and paper goods I won't buy, but like to check out.

I wander through the children's section and look for cute books for Bri...and then don't buy them because I can't believe that people actually spend $15 or more on toddler books that are only a few pages long.

And as I write this, I begin to see why Borders is going out of business. I'm a browser, but when it comes to actually buying something, I have joined the move to electronic media.

I've written before about my childhood where I would get six books a week from the local library, cart them home and read them all as quickly as I could so I could go get more.

I don't buy as many real hold-in-your-hands books any more now that I have all of my "gadgets."

I have an iPod, an iTouch and a Kindle. That means I'm never without something to read or listen to. It's audio books in the car, iTouch books with the kindle app during intermission at the theatre or in the car after dark. The Kindle has become the reader of choice at other times. I can (and do) have several books going at one time on the Kindle, and a different book going on the iTouch and perhaps one book that I'm listening to by mysef on the iPod, and another book I'm listening to with Walt.

For example, right now we just finished a Lee Child audio book and I'm listening to a Patricia Cornwell book on the iPod ( the latter was a test, to see how much I liked Cornwell as an audio and I've discovered I don't like it at all. The voice for the familliar characters was so far off what I've "heard" in my head while reading her earlier books that I am not enjoying that part of it).

On the Kindle, I'm reading a Dick Francis book; a book called "Driving in China," which is wonderful; a book about snail mail; and book whose name I have forgotten. There might be another one "active" at the moment. Whatever my mood is for whatever kind of book, I have a wide selection from which to choose.

On the iTouch, I'm reading a book of Dick Cavett columns.

(The problem with this is that I carry all of the electronic gadgets in my purse at the same time, along with my camera and heavy wallet. I just weighed the purse--it weighs more than 5-1/2 lbs! But, for example, when we stopped for gas or at a rest stop coming home from Santa Barbara, we would turn off the audio book and I could pull out my Kindle to read another book while waiting for Walt to return to the car!)

Oh, and I'm reading a couple of "real" books too, a book called "I'm not a tourist, I live here," which a woman I met recently here in Davis has written about behind the scenes in San Francisco, and a book by Dean Koontz about his dog.

I sometimes shake my head at all the things I'm reading and that I can keep them all straight, which I seem to be able to do. But I do realize that my less than generous contributions to the coffers of Borders has helped bring about its demise. I suppose I should feel guilty about that, but I suspect that it won't really bother me until I start wondering where I will be able to find my desk calendar for next year!


Harriet said...

I spent too many years browsing in bookstores for things I couldn't afford. The only time in my life when I bought books -- and they were book club stuff -- was when I was stuck home with kids and the library was not within walking distance.

I feel bad about bookstores -- even B&N, which made book buying harder for me. ("You can't use that gift card here...") But in general I feel they haven't kept up with the times.

And I continue to bless the public library.

jon said...

I am part of the problem. I read a lot of books but I buy them at a deep discount at flea markets, through Amazon.
Why pay $20 when I can get it for $5.
I don't think this country is as literate as it was 50 years ago. WTF and LOL, if you know what I mean.