September 12, 2011
I have a confession. One that will likely not come as a surprise. I love to read. I have loved to read since somewhere around third grade. By fifth grade I’d read through all of the popular childrens books and was on to novels (YA was not the thing yet). From there I kept reading anything and everything I could get my hands on. Much like my taste in music my taste in books is and has always been ecclectic.
One of the things I love best about books aside from the escapism (which I badly needed at times growing up) is that you can travel anywhere in the world via a book yet never actually leave your home. Okay so yes I would rather actually go many of the places I’ve only read about, but reading makes a nice second choice. And it is rather better than not learning about other cultures and places at all.
Avid reader/book lover=bookstore lover
Which at the moment is a BIG PROBLEM. Borders is bankrupt. AND closing tomorrow.
I made the mistake earlier today of going to Borders with my bestest friend because it is/was one of our favorite haunts. A place for us to grab a coffee, check for new releases, browse the sections and catch up whilst doing all of thee above. And now those options are closed to us. Yes, we’ll still have coffee and chat (Starbucks here we come) but it just won’t be the same. We both agree on that. Because for years now we’ve been a book club of two. She buys one series, I buy another. We swap and then we wait. Dying for the other to read the book so we can finally talk about it (we don’t do spoilers). With some of the series it’s almost like we know the characters and as an author I know I shouldn’t be admitting this but we call out character inconsistencies and balk when one of our faves does something he/she wouldn’t do. (No, I don’t write the author and complain. I know they get enough of this from other readers. Hell and it’s their creation so they have every right to change things up just as Patti and I have a right to want the character to stay true to themselves.)
So what now? We won’t stop reading (our brains might explode). We both have the Nook. So we can do swaps on that. But while e-readers are fun I still like the feel of a book in my hands. Call me old fashioned. Call me a purist. There is just something real about crisp pages and an unbroken spine (it’s a no no in our book club to break spines). I like being able to look ahead and see how many pages are left of that chapter because even if I’m nodding off I’ll keep going if less than four pages are left. Call me anal I suppose. Or to be able to see how much is left of the book inch wise. It’s just not the same as looking at the number of pages left on the nook.
Which brings me back to Borders. *sigh* I’m sad. And mad that they were stupid enough to go bankrupt. The place was empty. There were maybe 10 bookshelves full of random books and I’m being generous. Fixtures were being moved out, customers asked to step aside. Seeing it like that made me turn to Patti and say, “I wish we hadn’t come.” But we had, because it was our last chance and it’s hard to let go of something that has been part of your life on a weekly basis for the past five or so years. To not go would have been like refusing to say goodbye to a friend who was moving away because realistically you know you’ll never speak to them again.
It wasn’t just the state of the bookstore that was sad. It was the people there. When you shop at the same place you get to know some of the employees. Like one woman who would say hello to us each week. I remember that she shared with us once that she’d already closed up Daltons. When we saw her after the first round of Borders closings we spoke about the liklihood of the store closing. None of us thought it would close. We all hoped that somehow Borders would make it. We believed this because our Borders was one of the most profitable in the territory. And there is a damn good reason for that. There isn’t a whole lot to do here. The mall is a flop so that leaves two movie theatres and the standard chain restuarants.
So to our community Borders was more than a place to purchase books, it was a place to gather. Sometimes the hubs and I would head there on date night after dinner. Browse around, maybe buy a coffee. You know a place where we could just be out as grown ups away from the kids for awhile. And we weren’t the only ones. Looking around it was easy to see that many couples just enjoyed being togther and looking for something new to read without having to hear mom/dad every few minutes. I find myself wondering where we’ll go now. Driving to another city for the evening is the only option.
Now with Borders closing I worry not only for our community and others like us but the whole of the publishing world. What will it mean that there are fewer and fewer store chains to carry print books. As a realist it has to have some effect. Exactly what of course remains to be seen. So for now it’s Patti and I with the dozen or so books we eached purchased throughout the closing of Borders. We are now faced with decisions. Drive to bookstore out of town or continue to purchase the books in series we’ve already started on the Nook. I know I’m pouting but all I can say is it sucks.