The Decline of Bookshops

Published on 2011-02-12 by John Collins.

When my wife and I first started dating, one of our favourite places to hang out was our local Borders bookshop near to where we live in Dublin. We would browse the books for hours, rarely leaving empty handed.

Sadly about a year later the Borders store closed, in the process carrying out a fire sale which emptied out the shelves over a few days, a sorry sight! Now it seems that the parent company is on the verge of bankruptcy, according to the Wall Street Journal:

Chapter 11 for Borders, New Chapter for Books

They are not the only traditional bookshop in trouble. Recently while on a lunch break, I went to the nearby Waterstone’s bookshop on Dawson Street in Dublin to pick up a gift for my wife for Valentine’s Day, only to be confronted with locked doors and a sign stating that they had closed. The second Waterstone’s store in Dublin located in the Jervis Centre had also closed. According to the Irish Times, the parent company is also in trouble:

Waterstone's to close Dublin outlets

I would struggle to calculate how much money I have spent on purchasing books online over the years, but it is a lot. While I fully support others buying books online, I have recently decided to only buy books from physical bookshops from now on, or online from companies that also have physical bookshops, because I would be deeply saddened if bookshops disappear from our cityscapes forever.

Updated 2022 : note that the above post was originally published in 2011, but is left here for archival purposes. Since I wrote this, Chapters Bookshop also closed it's doors forever in 2022, confirming this depressing trend: