October 23, 2009

Books Without Borders

I love books.  I love the feel, the smell and the heft of books.  I love reading books so much that I now want a Kindle from Amazon.com or a Nook from Barnes and Noble.  I know, that seems contrary to my love of books but my love of reading takes precedence over my tactile enjoyment of a book.
I also love technology and when I first saw the Kindle a few years ago I craved to own one.  Unfortunately, the price tag was a bit steep and I could not justify the purchase.  Now the price has come down by $50 and it is in its second generation.  Just this week Barnes and Noble announced the arrival of the Nook so now I am in a quandry as to which eBook reader I should covet.
For those of you who don't know what a Kindle or a Nook is, they are electronic reading devices that allow you to download books from their websites for usually no more than ten bucks a book.  Both of these devices use wireless technology so you can download a book from anywhere, unlike the Sony Digital Reader which requires you to be connected to a computer to download.  The Sony Digital Reader is sold at Borders Books but you can't download any books from Borders.com.
Now we get to the crux of my post, why is Borders Books so behind the times?  I was so excited when Borders opened in my neck of the woods a few years ago.  I had sent them an email years ago, when this area was growing into a shopping mecca, to suggest that they consider opening a store here since Barnes and Noble was already around and I thought the competition would be nice.  Well, they ignored my suggestion and allowed Barnes and Noble to have two stores in Northwest Arkansas and waited until they were well established before Borders saw the light. 
Barnes and Noble has gotten the formula down pat with their Starbucks Coffee Shop area and free wi-fi.  My Borders decided to put the coffee shop AND bathrooms upstairs so that both are inconvenient.  They also decided to forgo the sitting areas that are so nice at B/N so I can't spontanously pick up a book or magazine to peruse. 
Today I got an email from Borders with an announcement that they are going to have free wi-fi.  Big deal.  Lugging my laptop upstairs to their coffee area would be a pain in the butt and there won't be any electrical outlets since it is an afterthought.  Too little too late.
Oh, my other gripe is that Borders got rid of their music.  Yes folks you read that right, Borders no longer offers anything other that the most recent CD's from a small selection of musical artists.  For the past two years I have gotten all of my music from Borders, and I buy lots of music,  but those days are over. 
I'm sure you, dear reader, are now thinking "why not just be happy with Barnes and Noble and shop there?".  The reason why I am so attached to Borders is because I really like the staff and the manager is a client.  I really want them to succeed.  Ah, if only they had listened to me in the first place. 
This brings me back to the first part of my post.  Amazon has the Kindle, Barnes and Noble has the Nook.  Both are eBook readers that use proprietary formats and require you to download from their websites.  Borders Books sells the Sony Digital Reader but you can only download books from Sony's eBook site which doesn't make any sense to me.  Why sell a reader that only generates profit one time?  Borders needs to get with the program and develop a digital reader that will be even better than the Kindle or the Nook.  Come on Borders, take that next step into the 21st century.

I now own a Kindle (love it!) and our Border's Books has gone out of business.