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Monday, March 28 2011

I need to stop torturing myself. I find myself returning to the Borders near my house, one of the many slated to close, again and again. To see what stock is still available, to dig through the pile of children's books (although that pile isn't much of a pile any more) for any overlooked treasures, to buy writing magazines, since most stores don't carry them. And every time I go, the shelves are a bit emptier, the merchandise more picked over, and I can't help but think that if all these people had shopped this much at Borders before the giant going-out-of-business sale, this store wouldn't be closing.

I didn't think I'd miss Borders so much. Years ago, I grumbled when I read how small independent bookstores were getting pummeled by big stores and online giants (cough, Amazon, cough). I sighed when the final independent bookstore closed in my town, unable to compete.

Don't get me wrong. I still shopped at Borders, even as my conscience nagged me. Heck, I even earned some Borders bucks. You can't argue with the huge selection, browsing-friendly layout, and fun games and crafts section. Plus, I figured I needed to help save some of the brick-and-mortar stores, even if they were the large chains. Shopping at a physical store, where I can flip through pages to read occasional paragraphs or where I might stumble across unknown works, isn't the same as shopping at Amazon, where I already know what I'm looking for and don't bother browsing for anything else.

And the closing of so many Borders in the Bay Area will impact not just readers, but published writers, too. It's one less place for a writer to sell their books. One less place for that oh-so-rare book signing that's been mostly replaced by guest blogs and online promoting. One less place where someone can browse the shelves and come across a book they've never even heard of and decide to give it a try. And that's really a shame.

Guess I'd better start shopping at Barnes and Noble before it's too late.

Posted by: Staci McLaughlin AT 03:29 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email