Some people may not care that Borders is going out of business. I have heard friends compare it to Fox Books from “You’ve Got Mail” finally biting the dust. Others, like myself, feel a bit more than disappointment at the loss.
My love of Borders may stem from the fact that it has been my local bookstore for years. Barnes and Noble never came to my side of town, so when I went to just roam shelves, it was always Borders that catered to my needs. It wasn’t just a geographic location, however. I loved their selection of books, bookmarks, and notebooks – things of which I could never have enough. I felt a sort of bond, so that even when I lived other places, I tended to visit Borders first, other booksellers second. Granted, I feel the same connection to the British chain Waterstones, so Borders is not unique. I know that I could get books online at Amazon, or I could just download them to my Kindle. I tend to do one or the other anyway. But without my wandering the shelves, I would not have found books like The Iron Witch. There are countless novels I have brought home through this type of shopping routine. My collection of Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, and several Tolkien books, just to name a few. I know right where things are in my bookstore, and now it will be gone.
I know there are a lot of economic reasons Borders could not make it work. Some blogs and articles have suggested the fact that Borders did not have a single E-Reader, they had many. Others blame Amazon.com (which, let’s face it, is an accurate assessment). I know that Borders dabbled in the international market, because when I was in Scotland in 2007, they had a location in Glasgow. Perhaps they just lacked a singular business plan, and instead tried on too many different techniques. Whichever one is to blame does not matter. The end result is still the same.
Now, I know that some readers will want to point out that Borders was far too expensive. And in a lot of ways, that is true. I often found myself wondering if I just had a little patience, I could order it off of Amazon for half the price. But there is still nothing compared to walking into that bookstore, and smelling the pages, knowing that you could never read them all. One of my favorite scenes in “Beauty and the Beast” is when Beast gives Belle his library. I have always wanted that library. Hundreds upon hundreds of books that I could just sink my teeth into. And maybe it is my sheer love of reading that drove me to Borders in the first place. You had a sense of community with fellow book lovers, but mostly there was the thirst for learning, wanting to have the time to read all of the books that lay in front of you.
For me the loss of Borders is more acute because there are no other bookstores within a thirty-minute drive. I have never understood why not, because our side of town has boomed in the last few years, and we have gained tons of different stores. Maybe with Borders closing Barnes & Noble will move in, but I know it just won’t feel the same. And while I do shop on Amazon and download directly to my Kindle, nothing compares with going into that large store and knowing how many options lay just at your fingertips. It’s an amazing sense of overwhelming goodness.