Like many people in the book world, I was very sad to hear that Borders filed for bankruptcy last week and has started closing 200 stores. I've been lucky to have four locations between my home and my work, but, sadly, three of those four locations are now going to shut their doors.
I love Borders. It's my chain bookstore of choice. I have had some iffy customer service experiences with B&N, and the YA section of my local B&N is just sadly lacking. They never have what I want or need, and when I have a B&N GC, I end up having to visit several locations to use to whole thing up. I just never feel at home at B&N like I do at Borders. I think I would be bummed if I heard that it was B&N declaring bankruptcy and closing stores, because any time a bookstore closes it is a sad thing, but I wouldn't be upset like I am with these Borders closings. It wouldn't impact my life the way this does.
The Borders I am going to miss the most the store near my school. I frequently stop in that store after work to pick up a book, and I love running into my kids there. I see them all the time, because this is the only bookstore that is local to my students. Now, when it closes, they won't have a close bookstore. They won't have somewhere they can easily stop by when running errands with their parents. Books will be more difficult for them to get their hands on...and that SUCKS. It's hard enough to get them to choose a book over their various other distractions, but now it will be that much more of a challenge. Shopping online is fine for us as adults, but the kids don't really have their own credit cards for easy online shopping. Going to a different store is no big deal for us, but the kids don't all drive or have cars. It makes me sad that they aren't going to have this easy access to books anymore.
And I know it's kind of ridiculous, but, you know how people daydream about their Oscar acceptance speeches? Or mentally plan their visit to Oprah? I always imagined that my launch party for my debut novel would be at this Borders. A bunch of my students would be there, and my co-workers, there would be food, and it would be so much fun. So, when I heard this store was closing last week, I had to let go of that little dream...probably just like a lot of people had to do when Oprah announced that she was in her last season. I know it's a silly thing, since I haven't even started querying agents yet, but it was just that little mental picture that would push me along on days I was feeling low.
It's not like there is no longer a bookstore near me. It's not like there isn't even a Borders near me...the one close to my house isn't closing, so I still have one within a 10 minute drive. But my special store is closing, and the special stores for people all over the country are closing, and that makes me so sad.
I really hope that Borders can survive this financial hard time and turn things around. I'd hate to see more stores close and more people lose access to books. Hang in there, Borders!
(Hey, if your local Borders is closing, now would be a great time to shop indie!)