Last week, Borders Books announced that it was going out of business and that all of its stores would be closing. This will, of course, cause job losses in hundreds of localities and a loss in tax revenue from those stores. It is a sad state of affairs for many communities, including my own. Where can one go locally to buy books anymore, since it was Borders (and Barnes & Noble who is still hanging on by a thread) who put smaller booksellers out of business years ago?
The two local Borders stores in Omaha announced last week that they would be selling their inventory for up to 40% off. I hit the West Omaha store last Friday after work and was shocked how crowded the store was. There were more people inside of that store than I have ever seen in a retail outlet -- even at Christmas time. It was a madhouse.
My question is, where have all these people been the last few years? If you value books and reading, and see something impersonal and tasteless about reading a book on a tiny Kindle or whatever, then where have you been?
Before you purchase something on Amazon or some other online vendor, remember that those companies pay zero taxes and contribute nothing to your local community. Amazon costs local jobs and provides nothing in return. Is America's quest for a "good deal" going to ultimately bring it down? Think about this the next time you marvel at how easy it is to get something online. Is it really so difficult to head over to the local book or CD store? Is the difference in price enough for you to risk a local economic decline? Is saving $5 on a hardcover book worth having your local taxes increased when cities need to make up the losses from all the money that goes to online retailers?