The closing of Borders books stores marks the end of an era as far as I’m concerned. I have spent countless hours inside their stores leisurely perusing around, never knowing what I would find, or what I would eventually walk out with. The entire experience was always something I enjoyed, and will surely miss. In my opinion, Borders was a far superior bookstore than Barnes & Noble. Unfortunately, Borders made a lot of mistakes. Their poor response to the Internet and websites like Amazon.com, as well as the e-reader is what really hurt them. Their financial woes have been a problem for a while now, and the thought of them eventually going under seemed more and more likely.
Since the news hit back in July, I have been to my local Borders a few times. While I did make out on a few good deals, my trips there were more about enjoying the last few times I could walk around and absorb the atmosphere. During those visits, the store was crowded. Very crowded.
As irrational as this is, I can’t help but hold some resentment towards those people. With the store going out of business and prices slashed, now they decide to go and take as much advantage as they can.
Where were those people when the company needed them the most?
Todd Leopold wrote a piece earlier today about the closing of Borders for CNN.com. Leopold describes the bookstore experience in such a beautiful way. I’ve included a few paragraphs from that piece below.
At its best, it’s crowded: sometimes with people, always with books — books stacked to the ceiling. Books lined up in bookcases. Books spread out on tables, highlighted on platforms, displayed in twirling, 5-foot-high wire racks.
Don’t know what you’re looking for? That’s part of the adventure. A bookstore is governed by serendipity. You walk in and the world falls away. There’s no rush. It’s just you and the books, these pockets of words and paper that somehow transport you to a different place.
The best bookstores have a certain feel, a certain comfort to them. They’re stately but not forbidding. The employees are a mix of the young and the eccentric, college students and lifers. The front of the store features their recommendations, a little offbeat, a little intriguing. If you’re looking for something specific, they know where to find it; if you don’t know what you’re looking for, they can be your Virgil and Beatrice, guiding you through the world.
It is a place with a soul.