Borders closings not a boon for Wayzata bookseller

Borders says it’s closing four of its seven Minnesota bookstores. They’ll shutter outlets in Richfield, Minnetonka, Maplewood and St. Paul.

The Michigan-based Borders filed for bankruptcy protection today as it struggles with a mammoth debt.

Analysts claim Borders growth to 642 stores over the years pushed a lot of Ma and Pa booksellers out of business. However one of the independents still in business, Charlie Leonard, the owner of the Bookcase in Wayzata, is not dancing for joy as the giant stumbles.

Leonard says, yes, Borders’ closings may mean a few more customers at his downtown Wayzata emporium. But he worries about trends hurting booksellers of every size.

Leonard adds the big discount chains – Target, Costco, Walmart – are selling the most popular titles at prices lower than what he pays for them wholesale. It’s tough for other booksellers that offer a much wider array of titles to compete with that, Leonard says.

E-readers and other digital sources pose additional challenges to folks who cherish hard copy. Which do you prefer to read – the printed page or the glowing screen? Does it matter if the neighborhood bookseller survives?

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