The news hit me yesterday morning. The Other Bookstore has filed bankruptcy. Way back, when Crown Books did the same I jumped for joy (we had a Crown right across the street from us), this time I'm not. It's not just due to that whole economy thing either. Loss of competition is not good for the business. No competing means standards will slacken. For example it's happened in the video game business with EA securing exclusive rights to make certain sports games. Once that went into effect those games fell off in quality real quick.

Crown Books died a death that, for us, was pretty foreseeable. Higher ups fighting amongst themselves, a pretty lousy return cycle (they bought most titles cheap to sell cheap but couldn't return them to the publishers for credit) and a crazy lack of good employee help shut them down. To hear that three of the Other Bookstore locations are shutting down in my immediate area is sad. We need booksellers. I've found that it's one of the last places to find guaranteed, intelligent, fun employees who know what they're talking about. Walk into any Best Buy or Fry's Electronics and try to find the same quality workforce. True we have “Carol” types making the rounds on the sales floor but they are outnumbered. Booksellers by and large READ books. There are plenty of retail outlets that don't even consume what they're selling.

I hope that “Booktraders” rises again. That the remaining stores out there can grab hold of some of that book market share, hire more employees, open up some new locations, maybe keep some stores from closing even, help students work through college, etc. I like selling books, despite how many horror stories and crappy customers I load into my comic. It's a nice job and if others can experience retail this way I'm all for it.

As a side note here, heaven forbid, if a particular book store down a particular Santana Row is closing, and things are going on sale, if that giant $100 giraffe is still there and gets marked down, could you let me know? Thanks.   --Mike

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