Aug
25

“Where minds meet” for the last time.

By

Finally Borders closed its flagship bookstore in Wheelock Place for good. Once an iconic stores  along Orchard Road for everyone to meet and hangout now is just history.

I remember back in my younger days, there was only ShanghOld book shopai Bookstore, Popular, Times and MPH Bookstores. It was a place where people needed references goes to these bookstores beside the National Library. There were all located along Victoria Streets and North Bridge Road. Back then when you step into any bookstores you can smell the aroma of the books, it was usually very humid with either one or two fans blowing in one direction because there was no air-condition then. I usually follow my mum or cousins to Shanghai Bookstore, they offer a large choices of Chinese comics and colorful books with pictures of people and places.

Those were the days a bookstores is just selling books, until the mid 1980’s, bookstores was no longer just about books. They when into selling reference materials in cassettes taps and CDs, mainly for languages studies and classical music. They also sell simple basic stationaries too, on certain occasions they also invite books authors to launch their new books at their stores. These were activities that everyone looks forward to every weekend. MPH was the first bookstore that was fully air-condition except the bargain corner. It was then a great place to read books in air-condition comfort.

ItBorders book store was all good, until Borders suddenly appeal in the late 1990’s in the heart of Orchard Road, it became a new iconic place for people to meet especially after work. There you can enjoy larger varieties of books and magazines, there is even a music corner where you can check out the latest pop and classical music and movies. There were even very comfortable sofa chairs for you to sit and enjoy a books, you can even have a bit if you are hungry at their cafeteria inside the store which you can enjoy a book while you are having a meal.

Borders new concept and mission is “To be the best-loved provider of books, music, video, and other entertainment and informational products and services. To be the world leader in selection, service, innovation, ambiance, community involvement, and shareholder value. They recognize people to be the cornerstone of the Borders experience by building internal and external relationships, one person at a time.”

The history of Borders started in 1972, when Tom and Louis Borders opened a bookshop in the heart of Ann Arbor, an academic community in Michigan, USA. Their first store was just 800 sq ft and sold only used books. In 1973, Borders decided to sell new books only; by 1974, the business was in its fourth location, a 10,000 sq ft store. As it grew, Borders became known as one of the world’s finest bookshops – a place where customers could browse alone for hours, or rely on the friendly and well-informed staff to find exactly what they were looking for. Borders expansion came to Singapore in 1998 and was located in Wheelock Place in the heart of Orchard Road and later they open another outlet in Parkway Parade.

It set a new trend in shopping for books, music, movies, gift and stationarires in a Bookstores and everything was bright, colorful, and carpeted. You couldn’t smell the books unless you open one and turn the pages to read, but you can smell the food from the cafeteria, it was a place where people can just kick off their shoes and just read a book.

Their present brought about new challenges to many older bookstores that were here before them. Popular Bookstores, Times Bookstores and MPH Bookstores decided to remodel their store to stay competitive with the market. But sadly my all time favorite Shanghai Bookstore closed it’s door due to high overhead and competition.

Borders Singapore

However, after 13 good years that Borders has been here, it also suffer the same as the Shanghai bookstore. Borders was struggling to keep up with digital media. People were getting facts and information cheaper and faster just by the click of a mouse and with their mobile phone. People are talking about saving trees so use less papers, therefore, books ultimately also suffer. There are still people who are book lovers still prefer reading from a book to any other media, but that number has drop.

I always wonder why didn’t Borders see that coming and make the change to digital media before they were hit by it? But they knew what to do 39 years ago when they first started Borders, and running a profitable bookstores. Why????

Nevertheless, the latest news, Borders will be having a 50% off store wide at Wheelock Place this weekend. If you are a book lover do drop by to give them their last support before it closes for good. I am not a book reader, but I enjoyed learning when I spend my time in the stores it has taught me how to appreciate life, brought the world closer for me to explore and sample all the tasty menu from the cook books, I will missed Borders “Where minds meet” is one powerful slogan, will always be in part of my life.

 

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