Friday, February 18, 2011

Borders Books Busted

I care little about Borders book stores going broke. We are told it is a separate company to the US Borders, yet both have gone broke at the same time. Excuse me if I am of a suspicious type.

Borders can go the way of that coffee company that almost went broke in Australia and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I didn't like the concept of Borders and never bought anything there, nor did I like Starbucks and I don't like Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I am a of a certain age of course. Younguns seem to like them all, but clearly not enough.

None of the above represented good value for money. They are just overpriced chain suppliers. But with Borders going broke, they have dragged down a fine Australian company which has served us for a long time. That is Angus and Robertson of course.

(insert break to research how Australian A & R is)

The internet has killed me as a book reader. Where do I get time to read books? I still do, but it takes me weeks if not months to read them. Although, I do recall a book recently that I read in a couple of days and it had my full attention. It was obviously well chosen. Oh yes, it was the Handsome Cab Murders, a book set in Melbourne in the 1800s. It was a great read. I mostly read non fiction and they not usually books that you can't put down. Interesting of course, but not compelling.

Hmm. Wikipedia tells me of the sad demise of Angus and Robertson as an independent book seller and publisher. It opened its first store at 110 1/2(what?) Market Street, Sydney.

In the eighties and into the nineties, I used to often buy books at Hill of Content bookshop in Bourke Street. It too got mixed up with a large book company, and I decided to buy my books elsewhere. Interesting to find Hill of Content has opened a shop in Darling Street, Balmain. The mega search engine did not immediately give me an answer as to who owns Hill of Content, but their contact email does,

For the last couple of years I have spread my book purchases between Jefferys in Malvern, Readings in Carlton, ABC Shop and at christmas we bought gift books at Readers Feast, which for a larger store, I quite like. Oh yes, I have bought a couple of books online too and a couple at remaindered book shops.

As for an electronic book reader, you won't see me with one in a hurry, not because I am a dinosaur but I just don't read enough books.


  1. We have a similar story, with Whitcombe and Tombs being the original company back in 1888.

  2. I think it is the retail arm of A&R that has gone to the wall. The publishing arm was hived off in the 90s sometime. They are not as big up here anymore as Dymocks.

    I have to admit that just the night before, I bought $126 of books from The Book Depository. I like books because of the tactile thing, but a reader is better when travelling. I must admit that my reading list is getting longer because of the internet.

    Close to me I have Ariel books and a Berkelouws, both of which are fascinating for an evenings entertainment but not particulrly comprehensive.

    The good thing about going in to a bookshop is that I broaden my horizons because of what is on the shelf. Online this happens far less frequently. I particularly like in shops where the 'workers' put little dockets under books saying why they liked it. I always read, even if not buy.

    Ten days ago I bought $100+ books at Dymocks in George St which was some for mmy grandbaby and some for my son. Most of my giving-pressies at Christmas were books, once again from Dymocks.

    I only have to say I am trapped in a shop, and my kids know immediately to come to the LGF of Dymocks on George. I am searching for my copy of Viktor Frankl's 'The meaning of life'. I think some related bugger has swiped it.

  3. I'm a Dymocks girl after the last few purchases from A&R were $$ above the RRP for no apparent reason. Like Julie, there's nothing quite like going into a bookshop and rummaging - I've ended up with great gems that I wouldn't have even thought of had I not seen them in the flesh!

    But op shops are my new fave shops for books - first editions, out of print and rarities, along with current books at a fraction of the cost can be found with a little digging. And its SO rewarding!!

    Have a great day!

  4. Yes KN. Mention was made of Whitcoulls in our media. Does it have a curious pronunciation? Something grabbed me when I heard the name. It is sad when these old long time businesses fall victim to big business practices.

    I certainly agree with you about browsing over net buying Julie. Pick up a book you did not go into the shop to buy, read the book and author details on the back and inside covers, maybe skim a couple of pages, check the publishing details. That could be a sale. I doubt I would do that online.

    Red, I haven't really been so keen on A&R for some time. A bargain used book can be such a bargain if you like it.

  5. The ladies at our local A & R love me, I think they just know I am going to purchase a book for each member of my family in one hit every single time! lol
    I love the smell of the book shops. Although I have purchased the kids'text books online cheaper than the school book supplier's ever could. Did I cheat A & R? I don't think so, because they do not sell the text books... but if they did, I would probably still go online because they are cheaper

  6. I still buy lots of books, I prefer them to electronic readers. I mostly buy them through Book Depository or Fishpond. I'll buy them where ever they're the cheapest. I still browse through bookstores and I will buy a book if it catches my eye when I'm there.

    Borders were greedy and dumb, they could have cottoned to the electronic/online thing years ago but they didn't, so bad business decision for them.

  7. oh ps -

    That's an interesting article about the whole lot. Hmmm.

  8. This reminded me that I've always wanted to read The Mystery Of The Hansom Cab. Took me three seconds to find a free version on Google (it's in the public domain), a further ten seconds to download it in Kindle format and then I emailed it straight to my Kindle. All up it took about 1 minute to have a copy ready to read.

    Seriously, what do booksellers have to fear...

  9. Cazzie, you've got it. We do what suits us at the times. It is up to companies to adjust to what we want.

    Fen, not being a Borders shopper, I have heard that they have chairs to sit and read books from the shelf. I see a problem. Corrie Perkin is always good value.

    Tony, Jayne emailed it to me ages ago, but I just couldn't read it on the screen. I bought the book for $5 when I saw it. You get through a few books, so its worth your while to have a reader. Does your better half ever borrow your Kindle?

  10. I'v tried to interest Rae in my Kindle but so far no luck. I'm thinking if she had her own to play with she'd enjoy it a lot.

  11. (And having tried both there's no comparison between a computer screen and a Kindle/ereader. The screen on my Kindle is exactly like reading from paper.)

  12. Amazon, Amazon, Amazon, that's all I gotta say!

  13. I'v tried to interest Rae in my Kindle but so far no luck. I'm thinking if she had her own to play with she'd enjoy it a lot.


  14. Tony, when is her birthday? I do know how good they are as I read a few sentences of a bodice ripper over a young lady's shoulder on a tram.

    Ian, our friend in Japan who had slightly more net experience than us back in 1996 I think, showed us Amazon. I have an account there that I had to go through the process to buy a rare cd as an MP3 file, and set up some download programme, and then it told me I could not buy it from Australia. I was furious and declared to never bother with Amazon again.

    Fair suck of the sav Fen. Only I would make such an innocent double entendre.

  15. Birthday was a week ago Andrew, anniversary is coming up in a couple of weeks but the 5th year gift is wood.

  16. Wood hey Tony. Ahh, I suppose wooden clothes pegs would be somewhat provocative. Wooden chopping block?

  17. I am sorry to see Borders go, if that is indeed to be their fate.

    Whilst some people ideologically bemoan that they're a large chain store, they sold a huge range of books about Australian politics, politicans and political history which is an areas of personal interest for me. Angus & Robertson, Collins, Dymocks and the rest sold the bear basics. For me at least, the loss of Borders will be as tragic as the loss of Gaslight Music was when it went belly-up and I was forced to shop online because HMV, Sanity et al didn't stock my music. That said, Borders certainly was expensive.

    I have also written a blog post if you're interested:

  18. If you believe researchers (?)they are saying that reading E books or from a kindle does not give the same benefits as reading the printed word on paper. Apparently we tend to take in more information if we read a book because we tend to skip ahead when reading electronically sort of like the skip reading we do when on the computer. The information doesn't seem to stick like it does from the printed word - I can no more imaging having my tea,toast and vegemite reading a kindle than fly to the moon - I love the experience of the book - turning down the corners if I like (only to my own books) and when finished either putting them on my selves wits the feeling of saying goodbye to someone - or passing on to my daughters or sisters...

  19. Yes Adam. I read your post last night. Well written and argued as always. The store clearly served you well. You have a voracious book habit and thirst for knowledge. Mine are waning.

    Not heard that MC. I will never say never, but I can't see myself with an electronic reader. I rather like the physical form of books.