The saddest of sights

Admittedly, I’m especially moved because I write books for a living. But few commercial endeavors have saddened me like this one.

Today, I visited our neighborhood Borders, which is closing. This is the spot where I wrote most of Boys Will Be Boys; the spot where my kids have purchased, oh, 40 percent of their books over the years; the spot where I go to check out other authors; to browse magazines; to gauge trends in the industry.

Where, here’s the unescapable gauge: Death.

I’m not sure what can be done here. A part of me wishes the Kindle (and its ilk) were never invented. On the other hand, it has people reading. And it doesn’t waste raw, natural materials. And it’s relatively inexpensive. But I happen to love books. Real books. The kind you hold, bend pages, skim through, mark up. They do it for me; bookstores do it for me. And not just the wholesome mom and pop shops of yesteryear. I love walking into a Borders or B&N and wasting hours.

Sadly, those days are coming to an end. Odds are my grandkids will never know what a bookstore is. They’ll hear about them, in the same way my dad speaks warmly of the automats in Brooklyn. It’s a new era—and for writers like myself, we either adjust or turn extinct.

3 thoughts on “The saddest of sights”

  1. Please don’t mistake the gross mismanagement of a single bookstore chain for the death of books, good sir. Books will be fine. Yes, the industry is changing, and publishers/retailers will have to adapt to those changes. But while the death of Borders may be disappointment to you, it presents opportunity for enterprising others.

  2. I’m down with you 90% but not this time Sighing over a National chain bookstore closing? Seriously?

    What’s next? Tearing up because a Lowe’s moves in and the old Home Depot can’t compete?

    I feel sorry for all the local bookstores that were driven out of business by the national chains.

  3. I completely disagree with Brent. During a home renovation, I purchased kitchen tile from Lowes, but wanted something special to mix in with it. So, I visited a small decorator shop that sold tile. The store owner refused my business when she heard I had been to Lowes. The point that you and that store owner are missing is that there is room for everyone.

    Small mom & pop stores are great and can tailor their business to suit their smaller market’s needs. However, a large chain (like Borders), becomes the sustenance that keeps shopping centers open, employs your or your neighbor’s children, gives that second income to a mom, becomes a place for teens to be with their peers, gives musicians a venue to perform, and brings people into the area to shop in the mom & pops, too.

    I was an employee at Borders and can tell you it is indeed very sad for every community where they are closing.

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