Monday, 7 December 2009

Borders, Books and Bargains

After a hard day at work I thought it only right to indulge in some hardcore shopping to relieve stress.  I'm not really all that stressed if truth be told but it was the only excuse I could create in my mind which would enable me to justify spending even more cash.  I managed to buy a great gift for my mother, some smaller stocking fillers and then my mind turned to wrapping paper.  This need led me to Borders bookstore and a rather sorry site.  As many of us already know Borders book shop has gone in to administration, another victim of the bitter chill that is the recession.  Borders has always been a favourite shop of mine. It also houses a Paperchase concession, a Starbucks and a Game store. 

On entering it became immediately obvious that everything had to go.  In the same vain as Woolworths, which recently sold its last pick'n'mix, prices have been slashed by an initial 20% and I assume this percentage is set to increase leading to incredible savings as we get closer to Christmas.  However, there was one discrepancy.  For no obvious reason certain genres had larger reductions, hence the reason I'm writing about this now,  and it's just our luck that the whole gardening section has a 50% off sale.  Most books had been taken from the shelves and none of my Christmas wish list could be seen.  I did however, manage to pick up a copy of Amy Stewart's 'Gilding the Lily' and Gabrielle Hatfield's 'Hatfield's Herbal: The Curious Stories of Britain's Wild Plants' (Both pictured above under my Christmas tree).  

On a recent trip to Australia I read Amy's latest book 'Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln's Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities' which I thoroughly enjoyed. The book is divided in to small chunks which makes it very accessible and easy to read when you have other things going on around you.  It is also jam packed with information that I have attempted to crystalise in the old memory bank.   The other book purchased, 'Hatfield's Herbal: The Curious Stories of Britain's Wild Plants', intrigued me and I could only find one small comment on Amazon from 'The Guardian': 'a wonderful celebration of the nation's flora ... the perfect companion for a walk in the country'.  Well that will do nicely. 

The plight of Borders is bittersweet.  It reminds us that the recession continues to loom and pluck victims from the commercial Savannah leaving us devoid of much loved stores.  It also opens up the opportunity for us to take advantage in a time of year when cash is strapped and gifts are bought in readiness for the holiday's.

Have you read either book?  Have you any particular views on Borders bookstore going in to administration? Or will you be taking advantage of it's plight?


  1. I was gutted when my favourite Borders shut a few months ago. It had an amazing selection of books, cozy sofa's, a coffee shop and a Paperchase. Now there is nowhere to go on rainy Sundays and I'm running woefully low on girly stationary. Devastated!

  2. I didn't realize Borders was in trouble. I will have to check around here to see if that is also the case in the states.

    50% is a great deal and how I love to buy gardening books.

  3. Ryan:
    Here in Canada we have Chaptigo ( well its actually Chapters, which was bought out by the woman who owns Indigo), 200 odd store chain very similar to Borders. It was Heather Reisman who wanted to bring Borders to Canada. The owner of Chapters at the time said, 'no way in hell' and formed the leritage committee. Scant few years later he had run Chapters into the ground... and who should turn out to be his 'Godiva' on her white stallion. Very muddled, convoluted mess.

    Alas, if Borders followed the trend of other large scale book operations - that is, forgot that they were a book store first and foremost - hate to say it, but too bad for them!

    I don't need wrapping paper, cards, chocolate or bottled water taking up valuable space for books to be displayed..... if I wanted chocolates, I sure as hell wouldn't he headed to a book store! Of course, I don't suspect the CEO of Borders called themselves the 'Chief Booklover' as Ms. Reisman does here! Can you see why I avoid the place like the plague?

    I prefer the small indy booksellers - places where people know what they are selling, and more importantly, know your name and your favourite authors. Is this too much to ask? Just my two bits worth.....

  4. It's sad to hear of any shop closing down because of the recession. As a non driver I have found the nearest Borders stores rather inaccessible. I am lucky enough to have a small independent bookseller about a mile down the road and then there's Waterstones if I go into the big city :) Hope that you enjoy reading your new purchases.

  5. P.S. Forgot to say that those presents look beautifully wrapped up. Your handiwork ?

  6. I think it's a sad fact that internet companies such as Amazon with no high street rents and other such overheads are able to undercut companies such as Borders. Although it's good news when looking for the lowest prices, it takes away the enjoyment of browsing. Oh how I love to spend time in bookshops whiling away the hours.

  7. Thanks for the comments.

    Teza: Great rant! It's good to get it all off your chest! I do value the indy bookseller and I'm also a fan of charity shops to buy books from. Big or small, the loss of any book store is a sad day.

    Anna: The three black and white boxes are actually decorative only and contain lights. So not my wrapping. The gifts in the back with brown paper and red ribbon is my handiwork!



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