mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

The End of Borders

Last week, I took some time on Friday afternoon to check out the Borders book store in Downtown Crossing. As I presume most of you know by now, Borders, which has been an active business since 1971, has declared bankruptcy and is going out of business.

Borders Going Out of Business Borders Going Out of Business Photo copyright ©2011 M. A. Burstein.

A few years ago, Downtown Crossing boasted two chain bookstores, a Barnes & Noble and this Borders. My understanding is that the Barnes & Noble closed when the property owner raised the rent, confident that they could get a retailer willing to pay if B&N wasn't. B&N wasn't, and years later, the site is still vacant.

I have to admit that the loss of that B&N hit me more than the loss of Borders does now. I grew up loving many different bookstores, including Coliseum Books, The Strand, and Shakespeare & Co., but all of those were in Manhattan. A short walk from where I lived in Forest Hills, however, were a Waldenbooks and a Barnes & Noble. So I have a more atavistic attachment to those store names than to Borders, even though Waldenbooks was eventually bought by Borders.

Borders Going Out of Business Sale Borders Going Out of Business Sale Photo copyright ©2011 M. A. Burstein.

Although the downtown Borders had laid off a friend of mine a while back, making me stay away from it, I decided to go inside to check out the sale. I was curious to see what items were left, and what the atmosphere was like. The store was hopping, but I suspect that the staffers who are about to lose their jobs didn't exactly feel excited about it.

Oddly enough, I found myself uninterested in taking advantage of the sale. I did find a few books that would have once interested me if I had the chance to buy them at deep discounts, such as the fortieth anniversary Doonesbury collection and a reprint of the large hardcover companion to the Carl Sagan Cosmos series. But whether it's because our own finances are tight or being in a closing bookstore depressed me, I just couldn't bring myself to buy anything.

There was also this, which I noticed in the science fiction section.

Borders Science Fiction Section at 60% Off Borders Science Fiction Section at 60% Off Photo copyright ©2011 M. A. Burstein.

The Downtown Crossing Borders was one of many stories that was very supportive of me when I Remember the Future came out in 2008, and they stocked many copies, all of which I cheerfully signed. Seeing my own book as part of the going out of business sale is like the final nail in the coffin, to overuse a cliché.

We Can Remember It For You On Sale We Can Remember It For You On Sale Photo copyright ©2011 M. A. Burstein.

At this point, I believe downtown Boston has only two major large bookstores left, a Barnes & Noble in the Prudential Center and the one in Kenmore Square that serves as the Boston University Bookstore. All I can say is, I'm still glad we have Pandemonium, the New England Mobile Book Fair, the Harvard Bookstore, Newtonville Books, and Brookline Booksmith around.
Tags: books, boston, personal, science-fiction

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