25 February 2008

Genealogy in a bookstore near you

Libraries hold special interest for family history researchers. For interesting information, try Library Journal.

In addition to breaking news, collection development, technology and tools, there are also various newsletters, blogs, podcasts and more.

The story that caught my eye was "Borders advances the Superstore, and librarians take note," which discussed the first Borders superstore in its corporate headquarters of Ann Arbor, Michigan, one of 14 to be built.

In addition to a cafe and community space, the nearly 29,000-square foot store has a staffed Digital Center for customers to make custom CDs, download books and music, explore genealogy and create books.

After seeing those magic words, I went to the Borders press release:

Yet, we've brought a fresh new look and an exciting interactive dimension to the store with a Digital Center where customers can do everything from mix and make their own custom CDs, download books and music, publish their own books, explore their family history, and create photo books — all without being computer experts because we have trained people there to help every step of the way," he said.

Customers will be able to access "Borders Genealogy Services" provided by Ancestry.com. The Digital Center includes "Borders Personal Publishing" powered by Lulu.com. Some customer-written books may eventually be sold in Borders stores and select customer authors could even host in-store signings.

The Digital Center will offer:

-Search Ancestry.com — Via the Borders digital kiosks, customers can visit Ancestry.com to access family history research services and resources.

-Ancestry.com Subscription in a Box — Customers can purchase a one-month Ancestry subscription for access to census records, immigration records, military records, birth, marriage and death records, historical newspapers and more.

-Family Tree Maker Software - Three versions of this software for building family trees will be offered.

-"Our Name in History" Family Name Books — Personalized books with facts about customers' family names throughout history. Order in-store at the kiosk and ship home.

Additional superstores will open in or near Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco/Oakland, Indianapolis, Hartford/New Haven, Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Seattle and New Orleans.

According to Borders, the company realizes that not all customers are comfortable with technology, so the Digital Center will offer "a friendly environment," with trained staff, to help customers achieve their goals.

Does "trained staff" mean employment for genealogists?


  1. Schelly,

    This is fascinating to me that Borders is going into the genealogy business. I'll have to keep an eye on their progress..


  2. Hi, Janice.

    By the way, I asked Borders if those who already have Ancestry subscriptions can log in to their accounts at the kiosk. The official answer: No.

    If Borders is doing this, will Barnes & Noble be next? Food for thought ...

    What about a theme song along the lines of "There's no business like gen business," complete with a cast of thousands of high-kicking and tap-dancing genealogists. Is there a JibJab production in this idea?