Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Bored at Borders

Remember Media Play? I thought it was the coolest store in the mid-90s when they were popping up all over the place.

Previously, I had loved going to the mall to music store and book stores...and now, there was a stand alone big box store with everything I loved -- movies, music and books!

Yet I don't really know what it was about these stores, but they never picked up the traction and customer loyalty that we have seen with Barnes & Noble and Borders. Something about these later incarnations of the movies/music/book combination had greater success. I think a lot of it probably has to do with the design and feel of these stores. Probably a lot has to do with more focused merchandising as well.


I have many fond memories of killing time in both Borders and Barnes & Noble as these stores expanded almost as fast as Media Play disappeared.

The past couple times I have been in a Borders or B & N store, I've found myself bored...I walk around, not really sure if there's anything I'm really interested at looking at.

I don't know why? Maybe it's because the novelty has worn off? Maybe it's because so many of the books seem gimmicky, or the advertisements for xyz-fad novel/movie/book is bigger than ever? Maybe it's because I'm coming to value recommendations in my media consumption, rather than just wondering around to see what I can find?

And I certainly think a part of it is the knowledge that I can find most of these products online for more affordable prices than what I'm seeing in the store.

I don't know, but I'm surprised to find myself bored at Borders. Have you experienced this?

10 comments:

William said...

I often use borders as a place to go and read. The music they play is usually much quieter than Starbucks and it all tends to be a more serene, library, like environment for reading and study. However, I almost never purchase anything. Amazon.com has effectively stolen 99.9% of all of my business from Borders. I can't say that I'm sorry for that. Their prices are unreasonably high.

I think it's likely Borders and Barnes and Noble will, in time, go the way of Media Play. I imaging that other stores like FYE and Best Buy probably won't be too far behind. The younger generation will just be too acquainted with online shopping to justify walking into a retail store and spending three times as much for the same stuff.

Seems to me that all these retailers are going to need to make some major changes if they're going to be able to survive.

Tucker said...

I tend to wander around in B&N and Borders without ever buying. My wife and I will sometimes go as a kind of entertainment - like dinner and a bookstore kinda thing. But I do tend to get bored, mainly because I never want to actually spend any money there. Also, rarely anymore do they have any of the particular books I'm searching for.

AK said...

I have experienced this - and you know how much I love books! I think factor other than the ones you mentioned is also that we are going through a different phase in life. I'm to the point now where I'm not just going to walk into a bookstore and buy a random book - I go with a book in mind. Also, we aren't in a place where we would be looking for, say, home improvement books or things like that. I'm not aloud to buy anymore cookbooks, so that section is out. Actually, if a certain someone that we both know and love could have his way I would never buy a new book again. Maybe that's why it isn't so much fun for me to browse anymore...

The Cubicle Reverend said...

I used to go to the local Borders on a weekly basis. Though it was corporate it didn't have the feel of a corporation. It was well run, but relaxed. You could sit and talk to the csr's for hours on the latest movies and books or listen to some great local band perform. I could go and see the same people week after week and it wasn't uncommon to see me hanging out with an old hippy couple, a couple of highschoolers, and just about every race imaginable. Sadly, that has changed. The friendly atmospher has become more professional. The good bands that they would have come in our now replaced by not even rank amateurs. What's the level below that. I tried working there for years. The turnover was so low it was impossible to get a job even when you knew someone. When I finally did get one I saw how things were changing. I got pulled aside and told not to talk to much to the customers. Lame

nate said...

I used to like Media Play too. I've never liked Barnes and Nobles, or Borders...they are too "cut and paste," you know...very little personality. I'd rather go to a dumpy little secondhand book store. I think would like Barnes and Nobles better if instead of serving nasty Starbucks inside, they serve ice cold beer.

Oh yeah, I liked the post the other day on Billy Bob Thorton.

Anthony said...

I go to a second-hand bookstore and loose myself in the old prints.

The old man that owns it doesn't give a shit about Dan Brown.

You have to creep like a cat over the books piled high in the aisles.

Magic.

elgringo said...

I live near Amoeba, so paying more than 10 dollars for a DVD (usually more than 5) is no longer a common practice of mine.

22.95 for a non-Special Edition Juno just seems too much for my taste.

Sometimes I walk around the book sections and make a list of stuff to rent from the library. That's about it.

There's nothing left at the mall that I find even mildly entertaining. Guess that means I'm a grown-up.

Ando said...

My wife and I go to our local B&N or Borders for a cheap date every once in a while. Our B&N has a Starbucks, so she gets coffee, I get hot chocolate, we'll find a couple of comfy chairs and talk for a while, then read and ignore each other. Sounds weird for a date, but we enjoy it.

James Austin said...

I don't go as often now, but still enjoy it when I do. Just the browsing and finding something new is enough to satisfy me. I rarely buy a new book when we have a few used book stores close by.

tyra said...



i lived at Mediaplay when I was younger,i miss it so badly.but the fact thatthe one in your picture looks like mine actually helps alittle.

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