Saturday, November 19, 2005

An Open Letter to Borders

Dear Borders:

I sit here at Panera Bread Company typing this into your website.

I take this opportunity to write you and tell you how much I enjoy your book stores. Weekly, if not daily, I visit, read, and drink coffee. Most often I visit during lunch just to get away from the Corporate madness to relax.

I like your comfy chairs and oak wood tables to stretch out and write on my computer. I bring my wireless iBook and often write for my blog, or research using the encyclopedia tools on my machine.

But I digress. I said I was writing this FROM Panera Bread Company NOT from your book store. I'm here, having a meal, writing on the blog, and drinking coffee. In fact, I'm writing an open letter on my blog. This letter.

Which brings me back to the reason for this letter. The Internet. The FREE Internet. Free access to the Internet.

Why don't you have free access? Why do you charge for access? I believe you are behind the times. And that's why I'm writing to you.

I suggest that you open up the Internet for free at your stores.

Why? Because I'm here and not there, at your store. I choose this place BECAUSE of the free access. I like books, but I can bring my own here. I like free Internet better. Here, access to the Internet is encouraged and never charged.

I would argue, although I have no hard data on this, that you would actually make more money if you provided free Internet access. At least you'd have the money I paid for this meal. And, more than likely, future meals and coffee.

Of course, I'm only one customer out of hundreds of thousands, but I'd be wiling to bet your other customers feel and would do the same. (Right now, as I look around, there are three other notebook users here.)

I'm sure T-Mobile provides some remuneration for the "hot-spots" you charge for in your stores. Maybe they provide free access for your stores.

But they are not your customer, I am. And I vote with my money.

"If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter" -T.S. Eliot