Sunday 6 December 2009

The Times they are a changing

We were in the Edinburgh branch of Borders earlier today. Mrs. F&W said: "Seeing all these empty shelves makes you realise just how ominous are the economic signs." Absolutely right of course. Closing down before the Christmas rush: things must be really bad.

What I'll miss most about Borders is the tremendous selection of magazines. When we first bought the flat here in Edinburgh there was a WH Smith and a John Menzies on Princes Street, both with a large selection of magazines. Then there was the Edinburgh Bookshop on George Street. When it was acquired by James Thin the magazines went. I told the manager that I wouldn't be back. For books Waterstones was better but the magazines had meant that I used to patronise the old Bookshop. Borders gave us an alternative that we regularly frequented even though it's on the opposite side of town.

It's all part of the decline of the printed word, and I'm not happy about it. I subscribe to two American libertarian magazines. A couple of months ago I tried to resubscribe to one of them that I've read since the very first issue. I still possess every copy. Initially I was told that it was no longer economic to send copies abroad. They've now relented and will continue to supply me but at a considerably higher price than for an online subscription.

We're going to see more and more of this and I believe that's what's behind the MSM's animosity to bloggers. I understand their position: their livelihood is at stake. But, been there, done that and got the t-shirt. Mergers, takeovers and closures - yep, seen all of that. The market's always changing and that's often uncomfortable for us. But as Mrs T used to say: there is no alternative. We either accept change and adapt to it or we're out of the game. That's a message the MSM needs to take on board. As does Scotland, actually.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Dundee doesn't have a Waterstones. 
Yes it does.

24 December 2009, 18:26:57 GMT
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Colin Finlay
The unfortunate collapse of the Net Book Agreement was responsible for the severe erosion of profit margins in the independent sector of the UK book trade and thus for its ultimate decimation. 
Even the best managed independent bookshops like Glasgow's John Smith & Sons and Grant's Bookshops, Edinburgh's James Thin and Inverness's Melvin's went belly up after the NBA was abolished. 
I suppose Libertarians would disagree but they would, in this instance, be wrong.

8 December 2009, 01:11:06 GMT
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Other David
Yes Costello, you are very lucky, there is nowhere else like that in the UK, and probably not many in the rest of the world either.  
With regards to Borders, well if you like books that are difficult to get hold of, the you cannae beat the internet. You can also get them much cheaper even with postal costs. 
When it was cold at lunchtime I liked to go into Borders on Buchanan Street, but I will have to go to GOMA instead.

6 December 2009, 23:45:08 GMT
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"Oh how I miss a range of bookshops. Is this the modern world? I suspect it is." 
Aye. The only place i've lived that still has a decent number of bookshops (chains and indies) was Bloomsbury. Its central London situation - with a number of the University of London's colleges nearby and highly gentrified/student population - doubtless help to maintain a range of retailers. What bliss it was to live within 5 minutes walking distance of the British Library, British Museum Library, biggest Waterstones store in Europe, the UCL and SOAS college bookshops as well as Arthur Probsthain's Oriental bookshop and a good half dozen+ other independent/second hand stores!

6 December 2009, 23:26:19 GMT
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"What I'll miss most about Borders is the tremendous selection of magazines. " 
I was just saying the very same a few minutes ago. The Glasgow Borders always had a great selection and having entered the big Inverness branch a few weeks ago i was delighted to find a number of fantastic American/International magazines i often read online but had never before had the chance to buy in print. I'm hoping the Borders stores are taken over by a similar chain who can maintain a similar standard. Indeed just breaking today is the news that Amazon seem to be looking at opening up high-street stores in the UK:

6 December 2009, 23:20:22 GMT
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Similar to here David although Dundee doesn't have a Waterstones. Perth has never had a Borders bookshop and the only one there for years has been Waterstones. 
Oh how I miss a range of bookshops. Is this the modern world? I suspect it is.

6 December 2009, 22:45:41 GMT