Downtown Borders Headed For Closure?

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Downtown Borders Headed For Closure?

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Jul 8, 2009, 11:06am

During the past couple of months, the downtown Borders has been transforming itself from a bookstore into some type of ersatz Hallmark gift shop. Large numbers of books have been removed and replaced with trinkets. The music and dvd sections have been gutted. The store was never much of a bookstore anyway, compared with say the Borders off Union Square in SF. I cannot understand why such a large city as SD cannot support even one decent new (as opposed to used) bookstore downtown. I spoke with Jan at Wahrenbrock's yesterday and he agreed with me that it looks as if Borders is headed for closure.

Jul 8, 2009, 12:12pm

What the eff? I love the downtown Borders! It's beautifully designed and a great place to browse (and eventually buy from) when I am roaming downtown on the weekend. Not to mention I work down here and I find myself walking to Borders from time to time...

That will be a sad day for me if it closes... For one, I would have to get my music & DVDs from *gasp* Sam Goodie. And, that would only leave one retail bookstore downtown: B. Dalton.

I swear, culture is dwindling Downtown. It has become a place only for eating out at overpriced eateries and clubs. At least when the Gaslamp was brimming over with X-rated theaters, there was at least culture, too....even if it came from Sweden ;)

Jul 8, 2009, 12:26pm

At least Hustler Hollywood appears to be recession-proof.

Jul 8, 2009, 9:30pm

Sadly, bookstores are going the way of record stores. I used to love spending hours in Tower Records to find that one very obscure Jazz record from 1958... I guess that our only hope is that independent booksellers can make enough money to stay open to allow those of us still fascinated by the smell, feel and promise of a new book. Culture in San Diego? It's here if you squint, but it ain't in Borders. At least any more. Sad.

Jul 10, 2009, 10:42am

I work for Borders. There's no word I've heard that the San Diego Downtown store is closing, but Borders in general has been struggling. The main problem is that people hang out and drink coffee and read books, but don't buy.

One way Borders is addressing their problems is by diversifying the merchandise, which means having a smaller selection of books (no longer will that book sit on the shelf for three years waiting to find a home), and many fewer (or, for some stores, not any) CDs and DVDs. With books, CDs, and DVDs consolidated, the leftover space is being filled with gift-type stuff attached to the stationery department, and the kids' department is getting a big toy section. There will also be a "teen shop." Some stores, such as National City, have a computer section where you can download music, do genealogical research, and make stuff.

I'm reminded of an old line from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer": "First it carried books, and then it was books and coffee, and now it's just coffee. It's like evolution, except without the getting-better part." At the same time, while I don't like the changes, if it helps the company survive the economic downturn, I'm for it. In the future they can go back to more emphasis on books--I hope. The fact is, though, that people (including me) do more and more of their buying on the internets, and brick-and-mortar stores of all types are possibly moribund.

Jul 10, 2009, 12:20pm

Well, thank you very much for that insight. I truly appreciate it. I do love Borders because of its diversity, which is why I prefer it over Barnes & Noble;, though, they, too, are going the multi-media route. Borders just happened to beat them to it years ago.

Jul 12, 2009, 4:49pm

The Carmel Mountain Borders has completed its "dumbing down." I went in there yesterday and found no books I wanted to buy - a rarity for me. I can't blame Borders for a customer base that I am out of step with. I guess the good news is the downtown store may not be closing; the bad news is that unless you are into romance/mystery/self-help there will be nothing left to buy.

Jul 12, 2009, 6:14pm

Unless you work or live downtown, the parking rules out regular shopping at the downtown Borders. I go there occasionally when I can get there during off hours, but even then when I am able to find parking,I have to pay for the privilege. I have not noticed the number of books decreasing in the science fiction or young adult sections of the Mission Valley store, although I have been away for 3 weeks so haven't been there lately. The music, that has definitely been downsized.

Maio 15, 2010, 7:31pm

I'm originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of the original Borders. I recall the days of yore in the 70s when I was in high school and I'd spend hours in Borders browsing about any- and everything. Now the store is so damn corporate I don't even go there anymore (MV San Diego store, that is). Enough Dan Brown the Twilight crap to choke a major aqueduct, music playing way too loud to read, and rude sales people. I go to Bookstar now in Point Loma. The clerks are nice, the store is quiet, and they actually have a better selection. Borders has really gone down hill.

Maio 15, 2010, 7:35pm

While I'm on a rant, I must say that I don't understand how Borders can NOT carry local authors' work. If I want to read something written by a local author, I go to an independent bookseller, because Borders doesn't carry locals. It really stinks.

I went in Borders MV the weekend after the LATFoB looking for Los Angeles Noir 2 by Denise Hamilton and Borders didn't have any of her books! Outrageous. So I went over to Mysterious Galazy (and spent way too much money, I might add). Anymore I don't waste my time at Borders. All they do is piss me off. If I want to get mad when I go shopping, I'll go shopping for clothes, for crying out loud.

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