Borders Gets Back What They Gave

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Visit your local Borders bookstore today because come October 1, there will be no bookstore to see. The second largest bookstore chain in the country will officially close all its doors by the end of September. Sad as it is, they kind of had it coming.

It's the end of an era for many of us who spent hours browsing the bookstore giant. I grew up at my local independent bookstore, even won a night there as a child and read Gone With the Wind until the wee hours of the morning. I am a bookstore kind of girl, but Borders hurt those kinds of bookstores.

Did you ever see the movie You've Got Mail where Tom Hanks is an executive in a big corporate bookstore and he puts Meg Ryan's lovely independent shop out of business? It's not far from the truth.

For years, Borders put the independent book shops out of business. To some, this might not seem like a big deal. After all, who cares where the book comes from? Borders had a better selection and very often lower prices than the independent shops.

But what they lacked, they really lacked. Borders was a huge corporation without the personal touch. Independent bookstores become more than just places to buy some books. They're also community gathering spots. They host author readings, especially those of lesser known authors who wouldn't get the same play at a big corporate bookstore like Barnes & Noble or Borders.

It isn't that it isn't sad to see these giants fall in the wake of online ordering and e-books. Maybe I am just old, but I will never see my Kindle the same way I will see a book, all pristine and unopened. 

I worked at Borders in college, I was in the publishing industry in the years out of college, and no less than six floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are filled in my home top to bottom with books I have read. The demise of the paperback and hardback book breaks my heart. But seeing Borders go is less sad.

They have no room to complain that Amazon ate their business when they destroyed the bookshops that belonged to serious book lovers and staffed their stores with bored college students who made out with their boyfriends in the storeroom (or maybe that was just me).

As video stores and bookstores fade into oblivion, there is still hope for the independent shops where book lovers gather to do so much more than just buy books. Authors still need a space to read, and knitting circles, book groups, and writers still need places to gather. As long as that is true, there will be space for the bookstores owned by people who truly love books, not just the money they can make from them.

Does Borders closing make you sad?

 

Image via stevendamron/Flickr

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