Make a Run from the Borders

It’s about time I write about something that is near and dear to our hearts. Something that affects the whole of our society and is probably one of the most pressing issues in the world today.

Yes, the quality of the Borders website threatens the very internet itself. Let’s see what this bastion of quality provides the public.

  1. The URL isn’t nearly convoluted enough. Some sites practically luddites about this, insisting on sharp, clean urls capable of being typed by humans. Borders has opted for merely adding /online/store/Home, which is a travesty. What happened to adding index.php?page=front? Or using Amazon’s system and adding the visitor ID, a harrowing string of 30 characters or more, into the URL itself? Amateurs.
  2. The front page isn’t crowded enough. After downloading the front page and counting the page contents, I only found 357 hyperlinks, 53 images, 31 external style sheets, and 16 external javascripts. While merely the HTML weighed in at a backbreaking 109KB, and all the included content brings the total to a staggering 2.1MB, they clearly missed several opportunities to vastly increase this total. Where are the flash animations? Why no use of Java? C’mon Borders, I should need a T3 just to think about your website.
  3. Pages load much too quickly. Look Borders, I know you tried making your pages load slowly by filling them with useless garbage and distracting content, but your servers aren’t nearly crappy enough. If even one of your servers is more powerful than an old 386 mounted in a Payless shoe box, you’re just being elitist. One or two minutes between every page load, especially when buying content, is simply not discouraging to someone intent on purchasing instructional material devoted to raping baby penguins. How can you allow that?
  4. Not enough DRM. Some might accuse you of being terrifyingly incompetent at selling books, but again, this isn’t good enough. Partnering with Adobe and their rampant abuse of the ePub format was an inspired beginning, but using a buggy flash application to decrypt their own purchase only on authorized devices isn’t quite inconvenient enough. This is the 21st century; books are meant to be owned and displayed, not actually perused for content. While the books you sell are broken, where are the self-destructing time-limits? You allow multiple download attempts?! However, the online reading was a great Trojan Horse—by the time someone reads an entire book on your site, they’ll have passed their ISP’s bandwidth cap.
  5. Worst of all, buying books is much too convenient. There were only six or seven teeth-grindingly glacial page-loads of various confirmations, payment method and discount entry screens separating me from my money. I’m glad nobody got the wild idea to enter a gift card into the “My Account” section and just apply it to purchases and display the current balance, but why not a separate screen for every possible option? Cramming everything into one giant page that always requires a horizontal scrollbar for every step was fitting, but users with 30" screens will find no handicap here.

I can’t do this anymore. Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you incompetent assholes? Over 2MB just for the front page? Are you kidding me? You can’t even digitize your own books, and have to partner with Adobe, probably the most evil vomit beasts erupting horrifyingly bloated worthless software for the last decade? They wrote their Digital Editions software in Flash, for fuck’s sake. A drunk college student sitting around scratching his crab-infested ball-sack could have written something more portable and stable in a single weekend.

And fuck you very much for crippling my purchases with encryption. I always like knowing I spent money on something I can’t fucking use without pirating it in some manner. See, I use Linux, and while I understand you don’t give a fuck about me or my money, several other vendors don’t have this problem. I’ve downloaded books I’ve purchased directly from the publisher, and what do you know? The material is magically readable on whatever device I decide I want to use. Do you sell every book with a built-in padlock with 6-digit combination? If not, stop being such paranoid assholes! Yes, I’ve joined the legions who buy something, whether that’s a game or a book or a movie, and then download the pirated version that’s actually usable. How long before I simply cut out the middle man?

Yes Borders, a shifty-eyed, syphilis-crazed hobo selling merchandise out of a rusty shopping cart clearly obtained from a nearby supermarket after it went out of business in 1994 is more trustworthy and easier to deal with than you. I know you hired all of your web developers straight from high school, and promised them they’d be masters in the art after reading Java in 21 Days, but maybe next time you build a system that’s publicly available, you’ll create something that doesn’t require a quad-core system with 8GB of RAM backed by an OC-12 to render. Oh, and buy some new goddamn servers already. I hear they have things called hard drives now, so you know, you don’t need to fetch your content from tape anymore.

And before I forget, die in a fire.