(Not sad enough to pass on their going-out-of-business/bankruptcy liquidation sale, but sad just the same).
This isn’t supposed to happen. This is a big-box bookstore. A MEGASTORE! These are supposed to be putting the mom and pops out of business, not going out of business themselves (I’ve seen You’ve Got Mail; I know how it works).
How does this happen? I love bookstores, and would be sad to see any of them go. Admittedly, I have spent a little more time at Barnes & Noble over the last few years, but I have many fond BORDERS/Waldenbooks memories. Those used to be the only bookstores at a mall. Wait, does this mean there are no longer going to be bookstores at the mall? Now what am I supposed to do? Shop? Like at other stores? WAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
I actually went to check out the sales at the local BORDERS a couple weeks ago. A weird mix of feelings.
I was excited for the great sales, and I always love being around books, but there was a depressing, picked-over, almost garage sale feel to the whole thing. I separated from the family, and started picking up every book I wanted. Even at 40, 50, and 60% off, I very quickly found myself holding about $400 worth of books. It was tough. I wanted all of them. I wanted all of them and then some. I ended up narrowing it down to just 4 that I knew I would want to keep even after I was done reading them. I got two books by Alain de Botton (my current favorite) that I had not been able to find at the library, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work and Status Anxiety, also Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger, and a truly exquisite copy of A Tale of Two Cities, like with the textured pages, and a beautiful “old-looking” artsy cover.
There was a sliding scale to the prices. How messed up is this? Children’s Books, Mysteries, Graphic Novels, and Sports books were only 40% off, implying that they would be the easiest to sell. Romance, Self-Help, Humor, and Animals & Pets were 50%, implying that those would be more, but not most, difficult to sell. Politics, Government & Law, and Crime were 60% off, which I guess makes a sort of sense, but so was Philosophy. PHILOSOPHY!!! Like the decision was made “these Sue Grafton and Where’s Waldo books will sell for sure, but we are practically going to have to pay people to haul off these dusty old copies of Plato’s Republic.” And there was hardly a magazine to be found. What is this world coming to?
The whole thing makes me ill, and I fear this is the beginning of the end for bookstores everywhere. Pretty soon it will be all Kindles or everyone just reading directly from their cell phones or having the text automatically downloaded onto their futuristic contact lenses. In those days, I will buy some property on a mountain and hoard books (like actual books, dusty, smelly, wonderful books) in a cave like some bookish hermit fundamentalist. You are all invited to come and visit and borrow books, of course.
I just got an e-mail today, saying there are only five days left. Books at BORDERS are now as much as 70-80-90% off (I bet you’ll never guess which ones are selling for 90% off). I’ll probably be able to pick up the complete works of Nietzsche for a quarter. I don’t mind the discount, but fear what it implies.
Farewell, BORDERS. Rest in peace. You will be missed!