Worth a Thousand Words #1

Worth a Thousand Words #1

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in theΒ I Love My Kindle blog.

22 Responses to “Worth a Thousand Words #1”

  1. Pam Says:

    Not to me – I don’t get it. People would rather golf than read?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Pam!

      Well, I wasn’t saying that a thousand words were enough…many of my posts are longer than that. πŸ˜‰ I just wanted to start a new post category for pictures only.

      To answer your question: I don’t think we can equate Borders with reading. People can love reading, and not have liked Borders. Borders didn’t go under because people didn’t like reading, in my opinion, but because they weren’t managed well in a time of change. My guess is that people are reading more, overall, thanks to the advantages of e-books.

      Golfsmith is an interesting choice. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if more people play virtual golf than physical golf. πŸ™‚ However, golf is seen as a luxury, and I think that’s the likely scenario for how bookstores that sell new books are going to make it. I’ve suggested before that $50 for a new novel (of a higher physical quality than we typically see now) is possible within five years. That would again associate reading paperbooks with the elite, as it was prior to penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and mass market paperbacks.

  2. Jennifer Brinn Says:

    That’s a sad, sad picture. To Pam, the idea that one of the big bookstores, now out of business, is replaced by something so…not filled with books…well, that says a lot about mistakes in business, our economy, and perhaps our society.

    Or maybe I’m just sentimental.


    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jennifer!

      Oh, I agree it’s sad! That’s the effect I thought it would have when I took it today. However, that’s my heart: my head knows that this is actually a step on the way to more books becoming more available to more people. I think it says the most about Borders, so I would go with mistakes in business there.

      As to our society and our economy it says, “Physical building space is very expensive. For a building that size, a retailer needs to have a high-end product. Books shouldn’t be that expensive and therefore restrictive. Since there is now a way to deliver books in a manner that’s cheaper, more efficient, and accessible in places nowhere near a bookstore, we no longer economically support the use of that land in that way for a generic bookstore.”

      A specialty bookstore may be different…we’ll see how those go in the future.

      Edited to add: If you haven’t read it, you may find my story, A Trip to the Bookstore, interesting:


  3. Worth a Thousand Words #1 | How to get Free Kindle E books Says:

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  4. Martin Says:

    I have to wonder how that retail center (and the smaller stores within it) are going to fare, now that the big general interest customer-magnet has disappeared.

    It being replaced with a golf store just seems very discouraging. A golf store is not going to draw nearly as many people. It’s (probably) not going to have a coffee shop inside. The people who do shop there are going to go there for a specific purpose, not to browse aimlessly in retail bliss. They’ll be far less likely (I think) to step next door for a yogurt smoothie, a burrito, a haircut, or what have you.

    It speaks to me more about the economy than books. The shift towards e-books certainly hurt Borders’s bottom line. But they would have survived longer and possibly had more time to adapt if it weren’t for the precipitous drop in consumer spending that went along with the recession(s). Oh well.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Martin!

      I’ve said before that if, decades from now, you want to make a movie set in this period, what would be emblematic is your characters walking past closed chain stores. Not just any closed stores…this time, it seems like it is those large national chains that thrived in the 1980s and into the 1990s that are particularly vulnerable.

      I think Borders would have failed with or without the rise of e-books, but I do think this is more about generic bookstores than consumer sentiment generally. While Amazon is doing everything it can to convert people to getting consumer goods generally through the internet (hello, Prime!), this isn’t just getting books by truck…it’s digital.

      As to the stores around this one…yes, I think most will be negatively affected. The main attraction is probably the movie theatre across the street, and this is a street area, rather than an indoor mall. The way it was set up, you could get into the Borders without really bypassing any other stores, which I’m sure lessened its positive impact. However, as you point out, it is a destination kind of store, so that would get people into the area. There are (knock pulped out wood πŸ˜‰ ) two Barnes & Nobles within, oh, ten minutes drive…but definitely in different areas.

  5. Gwen Says:

    I think it’s great! Golf gets people moving and out in the sun. Yes, it’s sad for book lovers, but with the obesity rates the way they are….

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Gwen!

      Yes, and I”m sure people can read in the golf cart while they are eating their pizzas on the way to the next hole. πŸ˜‰

      I wonder what percentage of book reading in the USA is now done on treadmills? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was significant…

      • Dave Says:

        I used to read on the elliptical at the gym. Now I watch Arrested Development on my Fire. πŸ™‚

  6. Dave Says:

    At least yours is being leased and occupied. The one across from me here in Pasadena is still a vacant shell. Next to a vacant Coldwater Creek, a vacant Linens N Things, and a host of other empty storefronts. Sad..

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Dave!

      Yep, I am glad something is going in there. Once it got booked, the change to the outside happened pretty quickly. I had been watching it, and I was lucky to get the shot: the next day, the Borders part was pretty much done.

      This particular shopping area is still pretty active. There are other places around here where that’s not the situation, and storefronts have stayed empty for a long time.

      I’m curious: are you watching Arrested Development streaming, or have you downloaded it?

      • Dave Says:

        I’m streaming it – it’s free with Prime and my gym has free wi-fi so it works out perfectly. And a 22-minute episode is just right for my cardio.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Dave!

        Impressive gym!

        The gym is what got my Significant Other to finally try a Kindle (and get hooked…mwah hah hah!). We were both upset when our gym swapped out the reading racks to put in monitors. What you had afterwards was so narrow that you could put in a magazine in it…or a Kindle! My SO borrowed my Mindle one day for the gym, but it didn’t work for my SO…apparently, the Mindle did its own work-out, dancing around in the reading rack. πŸ˜‰

  7. Zebras Says:

    Love to hear about Kindling at the gym. I Audible or TTS while I work out. One day I forgot my headphones, so I had to read on it the old-fashioned way, and started getting confused about when it was time to press the page turn button on the Kindle versus pressing the speed button on the treadmill. My gym although brand new, opted for the TVs overhead, so while I’m listening to books, I can play along with Jeopardy.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      Two tips about forgetting your headphones:

      First, I believe many gyms will sell you a cheap pair of headphones: ours does, for something like $5.

      Second, even without headphones, turn the volume down all the way and start text-to-speech. That way, the Kindle will “turn the pages” for you, so you don’t have to hit that next page button. You may want to play with the speed of it by hitting the Aa button.

      I play along with Jeopardy myself. When I was a bookstore manager, I had a publisher’s representative who had been a Jeopardy champion…and I could beat that rep on trivia questions. πŸ™‚ I’m not as good as I used to be, but I still do okay in our family room. πŸ˜‰

  8. Zebras Says:

    TTS isn’t fast enough for me as a page turner even on the faster setting. Now I have headphones that stay in the case so I won’t forget them again. My solution that day was to change the speed on the treadmill everytime I turned the page, less confusion. So, have you tried out for Jeopardy?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      I do understand that…I’d like it be faster.

      I have qualified for a couple of game shows, but I never did Jeopardy. Before the online test, certainly, you had to go to L.A. on your own dime at least twice, I think in the course of a single week. Then, as I would say to my Significant Other (SO), you could run into a Jeopardy-playing mutant…somebody who is extraordinarily good at playing Jeopardy (and not necessarily much else). πŸ˜‰ A lot of Jeopardy has to do with buzzer speed…I’m a conga drummer, but I have no idea if my timing would be good on that. So, a lot of investment, with a limited chance for return.

      Let me tell you about one of my auditions.

      My SO was a big fan of The Weakest Link. The show was coming into (vaguely) our area…the Metreon in San Francisco (that’s about an hour away). I went to audition, mostly for fun. Some people ended up waiting in line all day, but I got in reasonably quickly (I think an hour or two…don’t remember exactly).

      While I was in line, I was chatting with the folks around me. One of the things I told them was that there would probably be a written test, and I advised them to miss a question, even if they knew them all. They don’t want people who know everything…that’s not as much fun.

      Sure enough, we had a twenty question quiz. I missed one on purpose, and advanced. I noticed that everybody with whom I was talking made it as well, and I’m guessing they also missed questions on purpose.

      The next stage was about 300 people in a room. We each stood up in turn, and briefly said why we wanted to be on the show. That eliminated…oh, I’d guess ninety percent of the people. I got through that.

      Then, it was time for a mock game, I think in front of producers.

      I think I did fine there.

      I was one of a smaller group that was told that we made it. However, we were also told that it didn’t mean we would get on the show. They weren’t going to put two people on the same show that were too similar: not two people from the same city, same profession, two bald people, that sort of thing.

      As is typical, they tell you that if you don’t get called in a year, you can start the audition process over.

      I wasn’t going to travel to do it. It was fun, though. πŸ™‚

      • Zebras Says:

        So cool! I had a friend that was on the original run of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. He was like the 2nd fastest time on every fastest finger portion, the last person who beat him out that day was an idiot who had to call someone to ask what direction a compass pointed to. I’m thinking I’m not quite good enough to get on Jeopardy and won’t ever try to find out, because I don’t ever want to be made to look like a fool on TV. I’m a bit spastic when put in the spotlight! Might make an exception if I stumbled upon Cash Cab, but don’t go to NYC often enough for that to happen, plus me and my hubby would come to blows over doubling your money at the end. He always yells at the TV “take the money,” and I think its about the experience and having fun.

  9. CJ Allan Says:


    I wanted to share this little story of traveling with my Fire and my Kindle 2… but wasn’t sure how to do it without being off-topic… but this looks like the perfect place…

    One of the perks of growing old(er) is that your grown-up kids do the driving and you get to sit in the backseat and play.

    At least that’s the way it was for me as my kids and I drove from Dallas to San Antonio to see the Alamo.

    It was a bright sunshinny day, and my Fire was totally useless… it was nothing but a glossy black hunk of glass.

    My Kindle 2, on the other hand, was crisp and clear, and much easier to read even than the pages of a print book.

    Just illustrating what you’ve already said… that the Fire is for entertainment… while the “real” Kindles are for reading!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, CJ!

      I appreciate that field report!

      I find that I do tend to be able to read my Fire outside…but it hasn’t been very sunny here lately. πŸ™‚ I do crank up the brightness all the way, and play around with the text settings, though.

  10. For once, Amazon thinks INSIDE the box…store « I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] It’s Β not going to be a bookstore…that would be pretty silly. I mean, I suppose Amazon could open a specialty bookstore, or a high-end collectible bookstore, or something, but I wouldn’t expect them to try to fill the vacuum left by Borders…Golfsmith is doing that. […]

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