Over twenty years ago, I walked into the most amazing bookstore. It was enormous, easily three times the size of any bookstore I'd been in before. Books were everywhere, piled high from floor to ceiling. I didn't know there could be so many books in the same place. This was before big box stores. Before the store turned into a big corporation. It was just a neighborhood bookstore back then, but the biggest and most exciting I'd ever seen.
Over the years, I visited that store many times. I watched it move to a larger space, and become even bigger, and if possible, more exciting. I listened to authors, browsed foreign newspapers, read comic strip collections over by the coffee bar and so much more. I found all kinds of books I didn't know existed, including a series about a wizard named Harry. And a few years after that, I waited in line at midnight to buy the 4th book in the series.
Say what you will about Borders. Yes, it was a big corporation. Yes, it took business away from the small, local bookstores I support so avidly. Yes, it grew too quickly and probably sacrificed some quality along the way. But, despite that, it got people excited about books. And it never ceased to amaze me that the public could support the existence of such a large place... just dedicated to books.
Well, that time has come and gone. Borders is being forced to liquidate, after all hopes of salvation from bankruptcy have fallen apart. 11,000 employees are losing their jobs and nearly 400 bookstores are closing. And that's bad news for all of us in the book business.
I'll miss that exciting store that always made me smile. How about you? What are your thoughts about the end of this major chapter in the book industry?
I was sad, for all the reasons you mention and one more: Borders was important to Ann Arbor, where it started as an independent bookstore (in 1971, no less!) and coexisted with other indies amid the jumble of shops near the UM campus. I bought some great books at that Borders.ReplyDelete
I used to work near the Borders at 18th and L in DC. I can't tell you how many lunch breaks I spent there. It was a haven!ReplyDelete
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