A sad sign of the times
I’m going to miss my local Borders. It was pleasant, warm, and bright, with natural wood and comfy chairs. The manga section was in a sunny corner, and it was usually quiet, although it wasn’t unusual to have to maneuver around several kids who were sprawled on the floor reading the books (the tribe known in some quarters as “hobotaku”). The coffee was good, and I always bought three Lindt truffles on the way out—two milk chocolate ones, for my kids, and a peanut butter one for me.
This sign appeared in some other Borders, obviously one with a bitter attitude, and it has engendered quite a discussion over at Consumerist, where commenters are wondering whether it was referring to shoplifting or piracy. I would think it would be hard to shoplift manga, what with the little magnetic tags and all, except that I never saw anyone follow up when the alarm at the door went off. One person claiming to be a former Borders employee does say that “shrinkage” was highest in the manga section. That’s not too surprising, as manga has strong teen appeal and teens have little money but a great deal of creativity when it comes to getting what they want. Reading in the aisles, downloading from the internet, or tucking a volume into a pocket are just three paths to the same destination, and all of them spell doom for retailers (and publishers, for that matter).
And by the way, despite that sign, bargains are pretty hard to come by at Borders these days.