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My local Borders is closing

I know it's not entirely fashionable to discuss Big Box Stores on writerly blogs, unless it's to be happy that a book is carried there or upset if it's not, but where I live, the nearest independent bookstore is in Philadelphia (Joseph Fox Bookshop, to be precise), which requires a drive and tolls and paid parking, so I don't go there terribly often. The nearest independent children's book store is Children's Book World in Haverford, which is a longer drive plus a toll, although at least the parking is free. But there are three Barnes & Nobles within 10 minutes of my house, along with a Borders store.

And it is to that Borders store that I go nearly every Thursday morning and every Friday afternoon to meet Angela De Groot for writing time. We've been going there for years now. We know all the book sellers. We know all the baristas. We are acquainted with quite a few of our fellow patrons, as well. People we are used to seeing. People who have, on occasion, held our favorite table for us because they knew we were coming. (Our favorite table is near an outlet, and outlets aren't always easy to come by.)

I've known for weeks that the store is closing, but today it felt more real than usual. Because when that store closes, we won't only be losing a place to sit, we will be losing a small community. We may not know the names of all our fellow patrons, but we recognize many of the regulars and are used to exchanging pleasantries. Will we see them again? Maybe, maybe not. It's all very sad. What if we don't see the kindly man who comes in to read his newspaper anymore? Or the lovely lady who nurses her iced tea for hours and reads with her nose almost pressed to the page? Or the nice man who always stops to enquire about our writing? Or the very old Holocaust survivor who hits on Angela? Or the lovely woman who was recently widowed, who comes in to find people with whom she can talk? (At least we have her email address, but still.)

Somehow I became "regular" there without realizing that's what was happening. And now I'm suffering the consequences of what happens when a place at which you were a regular goes dark. And I don't regret a moment of it, but I am a bit saddened by it. And now, I am going to pack up and head to my dwindling Borders for an unusual Tuesday afternoon session. (Angela's parents are visiting, so we'll leave them in peace in her house - by which I mean, we will go to Borders so her dad can watch TV!)

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 21st, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
I was distraught when the Borders chain closed in the UK - and not primarily as an author, but as a reader (and café-goer). There's a lovely Waterstones in my new town, but back in my old suburb outside Leeds, the only nearby bookstore was Borders, and it was a great store with a real community feeling, like you've described. We used to go there at least twice a week, as did most of our friends. Now there's no bookstore there at all.

Yes, an independent bookstore is always more ideal - but it's way better to have a great chain store than no bookstore at all.
Dec. 21st, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)
You are so very right - better a chain than none at all. How sad that your old town outside Leeds is bookstore-less.

LOVE your Dr. Horrible icon!
Dec. 21st, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
:( Anytime a book store closes, it's a loss -- and in this case, a loss to so many!
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 21st, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
It isn't my favorite book store to shop in, although I've bought a fair number of books there, but I will miss its nurturing environment. And my barista friends.
Dec. 21st, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
So very true.
Dec. 21st, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
I love Borders because they give coupons! So I always go there...I probably only set foot in a B&N a few times a year. And of course we have no indies here. There are three Borders within half an hour of me and I keep bracing myself to lose one or two...so far so good, but...oh dear, it's always sad to lose a bookstore.
Dec. 21st, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
It is indeed sad. I'm not only losing a place to shop, but also a feeling of community. :(

B&N gives coupons sometimes (to those of us who purchase a shopping card). But it's not like the twice weekly ones from Borders.
Dec. 21st, 2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
That is just so sad.
Dec. 21st, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
It truly is.
Dec. 22nd, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
I love the Borders in Portland, ME. I used to go there every time I went to the airport to drop off or pick up anyone. They had an amazing selection of books...
But when I know what I want, instead of browsing, I order it from Books N' Things, the indie, in Norway, ME. Sorry yours is closing.
B&N makes you pay for a member card. It is free at Borders.
Dec. 22nd, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
I have a B&N member card. And one for Borders as well. (Borders now has a second level of membership that is a paid one - it paid itself off rather quickly.)
Dec. 22nd, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
Oh, this is sad. Hugs.
Dec. 22nd, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
Thanks, Jeannine.
Dec. 23rd, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)

That is so sad =(

I know what you mean abt community and knowing the baristas etc Our writing group meets at a Borders every Tuesday -- It wouldnt feel quite the same if we had to change to a new place.

Panera is a good option for you, maybe?

Children's ook World sounds like they have fun authorly events - I get their emails.

I hope you find a meeting place you love in the new year.

{{more Hugs!!}}}

Dec. 23rd, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)
Re: {{hugs!!}}}
Angela and I usually write at Panera on Sunday mornings, so it would be easy enough to add another session there. But there's something lovely about being in a book store . . .
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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