where the writers are
Readers Without Borders

   The store was jammed with bargain hunters on the first day of the liquidation sale. Our local Borders bookstore was able to hold out until the last round of closings, but now the final chapter was being written.

   I wrote the first of my New York Times bestsellers back in 1977, pounding away on an Olympia portable typewriter. For those of you who don’t know what that was, here are a few hints: you never had to charge the battery; you never had to replace the ink cartridge; there was no spell check; there was no need to save content to a thumb drive. The book emerged from this ancient contraption one page at a time. Once it reached the publisher it was printed on paper and shipped out to bookstores, although not to Borders, for the chain had not yet been created.

When Borders did come along, it was quite innovative. Here was a comfortable, quiet environment where you could browse, relax, and maybe have a cup of java as you checked out Chapter One of the latest Robert B. Parker. This new concept of the bookstore as a retreat attracted so many fans that some of the other competitors were swallowed whole.

Recently my wife and writing partner Marilyn completed our twenty-first book, using the latest in digital technology. It’s up there in cyberspace, but soon you won’t be able to download it at Borders. It seems that the once-thriving chain came far too late to the ebook party. Oops. Maybe the company executives didn’t spend enough time browsing through their business book section, learning how to evolve in order to adapt to the changing times.

Today, Amazon sells more Kindle downloads than those outmoded paperbacks. And today, readers are without Borders because Borders is without readers.