Random analog pursuits
I was one of the founding staff of the first Borders Store in Australia back in 1999. It was a big deal at the time and I was overwhelmed by the amount of stock that we carried. While I learned to detest the company and its practices when I was there, I still mourn the demise of this chain. And even though they started carrying a lot of junk in recent years, like Dilbert desk calendars and Beatles fridge magnets (I’m a Beatlemaniac and I’m certain that John & George are rolling in their graves), I was still impressed by their range, if not their prices. Besides, one more bookstore closing down means another bunch of people buying e-readers. I’m not a fan of e-readers. Paper rules!
Our Borders closed down with the first wave this Spring. There’s a “Value Booksellers” guy in the space now selling publishers remainders. One fellow runs the whole store and books are just stacked wherever, ignoring the old Borders category tags which nobody has removed. The selection is kind of surreal. Biographies from last year sharing shelves with parenting manuals from 2000 and web-design textbooks from the mid-nineties. There were a few great finds there but as my m.o. for the past several months has been to reduce the amount of matter in my house, I couldn’t bring myself to take any of it home. Just a few years ago I would have needed a wheelbarrow to carry my finds. Funny how things change.
The Borders in our local mall has been gone for years. Finally, the one a state away is packing up, and for 30% off books? I’m surprised it was as empty as it was last week. Though, I did score a nice journalist moleskine while I was there, but still spent way too much money for their overpriced stock.
Now if only Barnes&Noble would take their place…or even a Wonderbooks.
Our Borders in downtown SF closed a while back and now the second store is closing. I went and looked and felt a lot like what you wrote…it wasn’t great but it was a bookstore and they had a really big magazine section, which I liked. Thank Goodness for the SF Public Library and used bookstores….
Borders here died with a whimper in the spring. I was in there a few weeks before the announcement about Border Group filing for bankruptcy (though the rumors were strong at that point.) It was a disappointing experience, to say the least: I know my tastes have changed over the years — thank goodness — but there was a plethora of manga “vampire nurse” titles in nearly every endcap, and most sections were filled with the coffee-table books, except for the bodice-ripper or Jersey Shore “books.” The entire store smacked of desperation and despair.
I had the good fortune to live in Ann Arbor, Michigan for a while, and to visit the original Borders, with its funky space, knowledgeable staff, and broad selection. A year or so later, they moved about a block away, into what was to become the template for other Borders stores around the world: bright, broad, comfortable. Even though my own local store here in CA was nearly the same layout at that “new” store in Ann Arbor, the soul was long gone.
I like your style and turn of mind; I’m glad Borders finally turned out to be of use to someone for something. I have to say, though, I really don’t understand the whole Moleskine thing. I bought about a half-dozen of their notebooks when the fad first went big about four years ago. I have three of these that are still unused. The paper is crappy, the price is high, and the sizes all either too big or too small. A cheap generic product is every bit as good. If you want to go first-class, though, Rhodia pads and notebooks are of far better quality–but still pricey for note-taking and general scribbling.
Loooove Moleskine cahiers.
Jimminy Christmas, Strike, that’s pretty frickin’ grim. While I do agree that it’s sad that any book store should close, the Darwinist part of me hopes that it will open a spot for a new apex predator to rise to power.
I mean, sure, the big box bookstore is dying out, but hope springs eternal for literature itself with the advent of all that e-readin’ folks are doing.
Anyway, don’t go revoking my retro card for it; I’m just sayin’.
It’s not for sure. IT’S NOT FOR SURE!
The Borders in our neighborhood- a mere 4 blocks from where I live -shut down early this year too. Like you, I don’t even think Borders is all that great but I am a certified browser so I wasn’t happy. I’d be completely heartbroken if the Powell’s (used) bookstore here in Hyde Park would close. I find myself buying something each time I browse there.
I had a big debate with a friend about Kindle vs. Printed books. Guess which side I fought for?
Ryan, I completely agree!
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