The news from Borders is another harbinger that retail life as many know it is continuing to evolve, and not necessarily for the better.
Mass retailers of music already have learned this the hard way – music is no longer bought in dedicated “record” stores anymore. They have gone the way of the Dodo.
Book stores are threatened by Amazon and devices like the Kindle.
Newspapers and magazines are dying because of the internet and syndicated news feeds being everywhere at once.
Movies, at least as they are enjoyed at dedicated movie theaters, are staving off the tide – for now – with digital technologies, reviving 3-D, and re-purposing their venues for online meetings and broadcast events. Whether they will succeed long term is hard to say.
Communal experiences like going to a record store, browsing through a favorite book shop, having an ** affordable ** evening at the movies – all of these things are going away.
Is it a good thing? Who’s to say. It just ** is **.
The nearer term impact is that these industries represent local jobs, and affect areas such as real estate (leases on these businesses) and restaurants (where these people eat on their breaks).
We are becoming a land of abandoned malls and dead town centers. We are fast becoming stranded in exurbs too remote to be economically practical for commuting and further removed from the common shared experiences of transacting business with our neighbors.
I miss browsing for my music on a Saturday afternoon. Pretty soon, it looks like I’ll miss going to the book store, too.
Am I a Luddite? Hardly.
But I do wonder if we’ll all be better off, socially and economically, at least on a local scale. I don’t think we will.