It’s official. Borders is liquidating. The company is closing 399 stores and laying off 10,700 people. The decision that has created a hole in the American literacy culture and economy happened so fast.
I will miss Borders bookstores. My reasons are selfish. There was a Borders store not far from the multi-cinema complex near my home. The proximity of the bookstore gave me an occasional excuse to kill 30 minutes reading while a family member would wait in lines for tickets or get to the movies for good seat. Sometimes after an early film, we would go to Borders for coffee or to extend the evening a little longer. Most times, however, we would go to Borders just to go to Borders to get books. We all loved the store.
Once inside, my credit card burn-rate would exceed the speed limit, but I would reason that since we were buying books, I could justify the expense. We bought many books at Borders-many, many books. There was always a tempting table of “2 for 1” books along with newly released hardcovers and paperbacks.
There were coupons delivered to an e-mail address, and a Borders card allowed the holder to accrue discount points. Authors came to Borders to promote their books. The coffee shop served as a meeting place or reading place. There was a special section that held summer reading texts for local students. Our local Borders allowed students from the local high school to hold a poetry slam, and local charities held fundraisers by gift wrapping during the holidays.
When Borders announced the closing of my local branch, I knew that the steady stream of books that had been flooding my area of the state would slow down. The increase in online book sales and e-books had pushed consumers to other venues for book purchases; the decade of leisurely browsing and choosing a book that ”looks interesting” came to an end.
A thank you hashtag on Twitter (#ThankUBorders) was created for people to tweet how they felt about the closing. Some of the comments included:
“So sad about Borders. Thank you so much to all the great booksellers for your support over the years.”
“I have many fond hours spent at Borders. I prayed there would be a different ending. Am thinking of 11k great employees.”
“Because bookstores are magical places, and the people who work there are kindred spirits.”
“You were my first bookseller and I am grateful for the chance you gave me to fall in love with the written world!”
Many of the used books I currently find in the secondary market are from Borders. Many donated used books still have the ISBN tag with a Borders’ name on the back or a “2 for 1” Borders’ discount label on the front. There will be fewer books in my area because of the store’s closing, and that will mean fewer books to add to my used book classrooms. For reasons selfish and unselfish, I will miss Borders.