And I don't mean in the larger, overarching, Borders closing affects all of us that love books and write and want to see the industry thrive level. I mean personally.
The Borders in my town closed months ago. It's not on the list because the space is already empty, the tables and shelves already sold off, the books discounted until they sold, too. I admit--I got some good deals when the place went under, and never has that store been more packed than when all the vultures like me were buying the leftover merchandise at 50% off sticker price.
I was sad to see the store go, but I'm certainly not in the group that just lost its only bookstore for miles. There are three indie bookstores on our town square alone. I love visiting my favorite, Howard's, and browsing the small but always enticing selection, and petting the kitties who live there. There's a Barnes and Noble across the street from the vacant storefront that used to be Borders, and I confess that I preferred the B&N--more space to read and write, larger book selection, the ladies who work in the B&N cafe are incredibly nice. Even so--I still loved going to Borders. I thrive on changing scenery, and the cheerful reds and oranges in our Borders were a welcome change from the dour greens and burnished wood in our B&N. Beyond that--I think the more places for books to live and book people to congregate, the better.
Still, it was already gone, so I'm not quite sure why I even opened the list to read other stores closing. It doesn't affect me.
But it did.
The store I used to visit in Chicago, the one right downtown, with the windows overlooking Michigan Avenue, with the ever-changing rush of people flowing in and out and underneath, is closing. I used to go there with my uncle on trips to the city, and spent a couple air-conditioned hours there with my husband on our mini-vacation two summers ago.
The location in Indianapolis, where I would hide out while waiting for friends to come in on the bus, or take a break from Christmas shopping, is closing as well.
And finally, the Borders in my hometown, where, after closing the sandwich place I worked in high school on weekend evenings, I would go and read for an hour or so before their closing time, is shutting its doors, as well. I recalled immediately, when I saw the fuzzed, off-kilter print on that PDF list, memories of studying there, history book in one hand and a mocha latte frappe fluffy drink in the other. My dad and I would visit on weekend mornings, between errands, and he would browse the Sci-Fi section while I poked around the literature shelves.
In some ways, this nostalgia is very silly. These are not hometown bastions, small independent stores that carved out niches years ago and maintained their footholds, defying hardship time and again. They are not family-run enterprises that just bit the dust and took a few generations of hard work with them. They're consumer experiences replicated nation-wide, created by a corporation. Yet--they're still spaces where I and millions of others grew to love books a little more, and shared that affinity with one another, even if silently.
I'm going to miss that Borders in my hometown, even if all I really miss is the reminder of the times I spent there.