You leave the country for a few weeks and you come back to ruin. I’ve visited two Borders stores since my return and both have done away with their new books tables. In one case the table is still there but has about one-quarter as many books on it if that. The very best-selling books now get four to six piles on the table — or more — rather than leaving space for a greater number of titles with one stack a piece. The front of the store offers many more paperback books and many more bestsellers that have been doing well for months. Many bookshelves are gone altogether and replaced with non-book, non-CD, non-DVD items, such as expensive writing journals and gift cards. It’s much more like a Barnes and Noble.
In sum, the front of a Borders store no longer produces much information about the new titles on the market and it is no longer a good place for the well-informed to browse. I’ve yet to compare what’s stocked on the shelves but I am not hopeful about the trend. It’s hard to believe that the front of the store is the only site of ruin.