There is a Borders bookstore down the road from where I live. It’s where I bought my Bridal books, and magazines. It’s where I browsed for hours with a cup of pumpkin coffee in my hand. It’s where I discovered Jodi Picoult, James Patterson, Wally Lamb, Gillian Flynn and so many more beloved authors. It was my place to be lost or be found.
I can remember, being a little girl in love with R.L Stein and Fear Street. My mother always had a rule, she’d never say no to a book. So every Friday, after school, we’d pile in her mini van and drive to B. Dalton (a subsidiary of Borders). I’d hightail it to the kids fiction section, and there, on the bottom self was every Fear Street book published. I’d sit on the floor and read the backs, picking one or two that would last me the whole week, I was the sort of kid that loved to read. I’d carry my selection to my mom would plunk down cash at the register and hand me the plastic bag. It was my idea of fun. And maybe, somewhere in that memory, is the reason I have this unyielding desire to be a writer. Because I remember the way those books made me feel and I’d love the chance to give that feeling back in return. But that wouldn’t be possible without that first love–and so imagining my life without a Borders is…odd….
I stopped in the other day, lured by the transient workers, holding signs in neon yellow-nothing held back, everything must go. I walked through the doors and had a pure moment of vertigo. This wasn’t my place anymore. The coffee shop was closed, piled to the ceiling with cases and chairs and end caps, all for sale. The leisurely pace of a bookstore replaced with a grab and dash mentality. I found erotic in travel, and YA in mystery. Best selling books hidden behind magazines. It was…in a word…sad.
I know this is a taste of their own medicine. That not so long ago, Borders blew into town with it’s free membership offering 20% a best selling book and undercut a bagillion locally owned stores, shutting them down systematically while they counted their cash all the way to the bank. But still, it’s unfortunate.
I own a Kindle, and therefore, I take a lump of responsibility. I moved on.
I stopped in less, and when I did, I bought less. I’d go there only to sneak peeks at what was being newly published, making reminders to look the books up on Amazon when I got home.
Bookstores are an otherworldly place. The moment you walk in the door, you enter a world that is full of great stories, great loves, great heartbreak, betrayal, redemption. No where else is so much kept, waiting to be found, read, enjoyed, remembered.
I think the change is going to inspire more people into the eReader realm. With less brick and mortar book stores, people are going to seek out other ways of reading. I’m considering becoming an Indie Author, and for that reason, the idea excites me–a potential bonanza of new readers coming everyday. But it’s still taking a huge chunk of history and washing it away.
I’ll always remember the discovers I had in Borders. I’ll always miss the way it felt to walk in there and find the next great read. But, life goes on…so, goodbye Borders, we had a good run…