Once upon a time, I was abandoned at a Borders Bookstore. Seriously. My college roommate just up and left me there.
Sounds like a tragedy, I know — I can see the title now: “Shelved & Forgotten: College student left to fend for herself in big box bookstore.”
We had driven across town to the only Borders in Las Vegas, at the time. My roommate went one way. I went the other, and was instantly absorbed amidst the aisles of books. My roommate, meanwhile, was bored and ready to leave — and (in these pre-cell phone times) apparently couldn’t find me — so she … left. Yes, it’s weird. One, that she left without me; But more importantly, how do you get bored in a bookstore?
This story does indeed have a happy ending. In many ways, this desertion was the beginning of my love affair with Borders (and the end of my friendship with a crazy roommate). She may have disappeared, but I was still in good company, surrounded by books and coffee — home sweet home. I even bumped into an old high school friend (who happened to have a car. Score!) and we are still in contact today.
So I am bummed about the recent news that Borders may soon be no more. The Associated Press reported yesterday that Borders “could start liquidating its 399 remaining stores as early as Friday.”
Online book retailers and eBooks may be the wave of the future. But I don’t see volumes of life experiences and meaningful interactions happening on Amazon.com (unless you count credit card transactions as meaningful interactions).
A blogger named Maggie puts it very eloquently on her social media culture blog: “… I like bookstores – large and small. I like browsing. I like wandering the aisles and touching the books. Picking them up and feeling their weight. I like to pick an edition based on the way the pages feel in my hand. For me, buying a book is a tactile experience. “
I couldn’t agree more.
That being said, I recently experienced the similar death toll that befell the world of print newspapers. So I understand the importance of being practical, and embracing technology. And when Big Doodle Head made the decision to go through Amazon.com’s Print on Demand service for “Candy Store at the Edge of the Galaxy,” I knew full well our book might not ever grace the shelves of a brick and mortar bookstore, like Borders.
Still, I can’t help but wish for a classic fairy tale ending.