With 200 Borders stores going into immediate liquidation following the chain’s bankruptcy, I took a Presidents’ Day stroll to our local to survey the sadness first hand.
This was probably the busiest I’ve seen this place aside from Christmas in years and years. There was still a good selection of GNs in the store — but they didn’t have a discount announced, interestingly. As I wandered around a kid with an obvious learning disability asked a clerk where he could find Star Wars books.
The cafe where people whiled away the early part of the century — once a Dean & DeLuca, now a Seattle Coffee Roasters. It had been open last time I was in the store a few days ago, but no one wants to sit and enjoy a hot cocoa in the middle of a liquidation.
Part of the Borders and B&N problems is that in the ’90s the bookstore was a great place to get up to date, meet people, and get out of the house, especially in urban areas. Think about how many Seinfeld episodes take place in a Barnes & Noble. The bookstore as singles bar. Then came the internet and not only could people sit at home and order books, they could get up to date and meet people, too. Who needs getting out of the house?
This says a lot about the evolution of community, alienation, and culture…but it’s not a bad thing. Once, people met at coffee shops to plan revolution. Now they use Facebook.
A shill on the corner manned a sign advertising the sale. Where did it go so wrong?
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.