I know I’m super late to this club, but that’s what happens when you live in a foreign country that doesn’t give a flying seagull about this sort of thing (granted, Japan has more pressing local matters to put in their news at the moment) and are pretty much internet-less when you finally get the news.
You know, the news that your favorite bookstore chain is closing.
Let’s just get this right out of the way now: I was always a Borders fan moreso than Barnes & Nobles. There. Said it. Picked a side. Moving on, shall we?
Coming from super-duper rural Oregon, where the nearest bookstore of ANY kind is over thirty miles away in either direction (there are only two directions in these matters, you know), and the only bookstore that carries the titles and authors you actually WANT are three HOURS away…Borders was my friend. Borders was in malls and on convenient street corners when I bothered to be in those sorts of oh so big towns that had MALLS and STREET CORNERS *gasp*. A couple of Barnes & Nobles were there too, but were usually out of the way from where my family was driving so I never visited them much.
Borders was where I got almost my entire manga collection. And when I went through a phase where I didn’t buy books at all, when I did buy books I bought them at Borders. Even the books I bought online were from the Borders website. I was a very loyal Borders customer. They pampered me with their rewards card. When I was a super poor college student (still the same, just no longer a college student *sigh*) I used to cash in my rewards for a super cheap book to keep me entertained. Borders stores were always within walking distances in our college towns. (Barnes & Noble not so much) and I actually preferred their stores in the long run because they were smaller and cozier and quiet. Usually I would be the only person in there (a sign of things to come, apparently) and would just stare at the fantasy wall until I finally found something I wanted to read. …and then I would use my super cool rewards card to get super cool books.
When word got out back in February that Borders was closing a bunch of their stores, I worried a little but then felt better when I learned that none in Oregon were closing. Then I moved abroad, and just a couple of weeks ago I learned that Borders was closing for good.
It was a sad, sad day.
Many people, including myself, saw this coming, especially after all the stores that started closing back in February. I could sit here and wax and wan about why this might’ve happened, from management practices to an inability to keep up with the times, but if you want that kind of commentary you can go to just about any other blog post about the disappearance of Borders. Because all you’re gonna get here right now is a budding author shakin’ and cryin’ because her favorite bookstore is going bye-bye.
Oh, doubtless I will find another one I love just as much. For now I have Amazon to fill the internet shopping void, but I do love picking out books in real life and taking them home at that moment. (I’m the same with CDs and clothes and well everything.) Plus no shipping fee! I’m too old-school still to get an e-reader (plus they’re way out of my budget still) so until that day inevitably comes…well, for the moment I still live in Japan, and I’m happy enough to have a bookstore an hour away that has an ENGLISH section, haha! But there is also that sad little feeling when something that’s always been a part of your life goes away. And since we live in such a technological age, it’s not too far-fetched to picture a world where bookstores as we know them may not exist at all, and even for those who love change that can be a weird feeling.
But in the end there’s one thing about all of this that really, really makes me mad.
I’m in the wrong country to be enjoying all the damn good going-out-of-business sales! Argh!