Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Trouble with Bookstores, Redux

A few months ago, as Borders closed some of its stores, I wrote this blog post.  This week we get the word that Borders is completely liquidating and will be no more. 

When I came to Jackson, Michigan, seven years ago, we had several small bookstores.  None of them were great.  Almost all of them are now out of business.   What's gone?  Best Books in Jackson Crossing, a small bookstore in a strip mall on West Ave., another small bookstore that was on West Ave. (I can't even remember their names), the Nomad Bookstore on Mechanic (which both came and went during these years), and now, we'll see the Waldenbooks in Jackson Crossing close, as well.

Where can you buy a book, other than online, in town?
  • You can buy textbooks at Baker College and Jackson Community College.
  • You can buy Christian books at Agape in Jackson Crossing.
  • You can buy children's books at the Toy House and a lesser number at Toys R Us.
  • You can buy comic books at Nostalgia, Ink
  • You can buy used books at the Jackson Book Exchange.
  • And you can buy bestsellers at Meijer, Target, and I think K-Mart and Wal-Mart (I seldom shop at these two). 
Honestly, our book selection won't be much different with Waldenbooks gone -- which perhaps was part of the problem.  The real loss was the Nomad, which carried a somewhat different selection from all the rest, although it was still not the selection I was usually looking for. 

But since we don't have much selection here, much less a bookstore with a comfy chair to curl up in, I did most of my book shopping in Ann Arbor or Lansing.  In Ann Arbor, there were three big Borders a year ago, and one Barnes and Noble.  I suspect that Barnes and Noble will become very overrun unless another big store pops up in town.  Ann Arbor, you would think, could support at least one more bookstore in town.  Hopefully Barnes and Noble or Books-a-Million will seize the opportunity.  Meanwhile, I may head to Lansing, which still has all of its big bookstores -- two Barnes and Nobles, and, even better, two Schuler's Books.  I've just discovered they have weekly online coupons, which makes them more price-competitive, and they're locally owned--like Borders once was.



*sigh*  I will miss it.  Goodbye, Ann Arbor institution.

2 comments:

Heather Albee-Scott said...

We like living in Jackson, but it really bothers me that our town can't or doesn't support a bookstore, though I understand - books have become a luxury and we do have a great library system. We loved Waldenbooks in the mall, mainly because of the very kind employees and my Borders Rewards Card! We go to Ann Arbor to visit bookstores, museums, Whole Foods...which is taking business out of Jackson. Sigh.

Alex said...

At least in Metro Detroit (Ferndale / Royal Oak area) we have BookBeat, a lone surviving independent bookstore. Always seemed to be more art books, now will check out other selections.

Alex