Books Without Borders

Books Without Borders

It’s not just about a bookstore –although the closing of Borders causes concern on many levels.  It’s about deprivation.  How will those of us who don’t know exactly what we want to read discover what we want to read and what we want to know about that we didn’t know we needed to know about?   Will we rely on libraries to fill this void?  Internet surf till we drop?  Must we all subscribe to trade publications to know who’s who and what’s what?

Maybe it will be up to libraries to take up the slack.  Maybe it’s high time that we realize that as a people – many of us like to congregate around books –searching for a cure to whatever ilks or ills worry us.  Maybe the role of libraries of the future will be to also become booksellers.  We all seem to congregate in both places anyway.  Why don’t libraries open bookstores with free wi-fi and coffee?

     Independent bookstores are still my favorite shops as they have such quirky selections and decor.  But not everyone can be Kramer’s or Tattered Cover to name a couple of my favorites.   B&N cannot take up all the slack in this area.    And in my opinion, there is just not the same ambiance there as in most Borders.  It’s probably the lighting.   And Books a Million never seems to have a welcoming feel for some reason.  Of course these are just personal preferences but Borders always seemed the most comfortable to me of the big box type stores.  Barnes and Noble, though, has the best selection of journals of anyone.  They have all the leather ones with the creamy richest feeling papers.
     I’m not coherent in writing about this today as I just received the official notice in my email that Borders will cease to be.   I bought my last purchases a couple of days ago on Churchman’s Road.
     I will always remember racing over to the DC Borders on 18th & L (I think that’s the right street – I’m a landmark person so I’m never sure of numbers) when the first book that I was in was published.  Water Cooler Diaries  is a compilation of 35 day diaries kept by about 535 women on a certain day.  I was one of the ones selected for the book.
     As soon as I received word it was released, I literally ran all the way from 17th & N where I was living.   I used the computer by the front desk and quickly raced to the section where the book was.  What a thrill to see it lined up on the shelf with all the other books.  I read my chapter while standing in a long check-out line.  I’m sure I was smiling the whole time.  “I’m in a book!  See!  My name is right here!” I wanted to shout – but since it was DC I decided against that.  Instead I only told the checkout person of my great accomplishment upon which he congratulated me- not gushingly but he seemed happy for me.
     That branch of Borders was always filled with shoppers.  I never remember not having to stand in line.  There was always a line – a rather lengthy one each time I went which as those who know me will attest – I buy way too many books all the time so I’m an expert at knowing how busy they always were.   They sent a 40% off coupon almost everyday so I had plenty of excuses to go.
     I guess this is why I’m feeling like a third-world country a little bit.  No Borders.  No quick fix for what ails me.  How can I help fix the economy now without this outlet?  Yes, there’s still Barnes and Noble, but I got bonus bucks with Borders and a lot of free books because of that and all those coupons and wonderful discounts on all sorts of things.
     Here’s hoping that someone can convince libraries that they need to help fill the void.  It will make it much easier for people like me as I often check books out from the library before I decide whether I want – NEED – to buy the book.  Of course, I’m sort of weird as I pay my over-due fines by check as they’re usually rather large  – which I would pay by credit card but libraries don’t take plastic.  They have just got to get with the program!
     In any event,  I think libraries need to set up shop.   It’s time that local government’s realize that there’s money in those books!  And maybe, the wonderful Borders’ employees can find new employment there.
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