Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In Memoriam: Borders 1971-2011

Bookstore chain

“Following the best efforts of all parties, we are saddened by this development...We were all working hard towards a different outcome, but the headwinds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution, and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now...For decades, Borders stores have been destinations within our communities, places where people have sought knowledge, entertainment, and enlightenment and connected with others who share their passion. Everyone at Borders has helped millions of people discover new books, music, and movies, and we all take pride in the role Borders has played in our customers’ lives...I extend a heartfelt thanks to all of our dedicated employees and our loyal customers.”

--Mike Edwards, Borders Group President

"Well, at least I got to use the gift card while I still had the chance."

--Kirk Jusko, loyal customer who lived not far from a Borders.


  1. Unfortunately I had to pass a Barnes and Noble to get to Borders so I wasn't a regular. I've been seeing a lot more Mom and Pop used book store around lately. These are my favorites. Fun to find something especially a series that I enjoy but somehow missed a book or two. Nice eulogy Kirk.

  2. while i've patronized both borders and barnes & noble, my first love has always been used bookstores. i do mourn the passing of a place that once carried an eclectic variety. that day passed quite a while ago. both of the big boxes have gotten increasingly conservative, and downright boring.

  3. @Tag--Had there been a Barnes and Noble across the street from the Borders near where I live, I'm sure I wouldn't have been quite the loyal customer and instead split my time between the two. I'm really mourning the loss of book stores in general. You don't even see the smaller B. Dalton/Waldenbooks variety anymore. Independent bookstores have never been a fact of life in suburban Cleveland, and I've read they've disappeared from downtown as well. Used books sellers may indeed be the wave of the future, though, I wonder, before a book can be sold as used, doesn't it first have to be NEW?

    @rraine--As I said above, before books can be sold used, they first have to be sold new, unless, from now on, you only want to read books written in the 20th century or earlier. You know what was really eclectic about Borders? The magazine rack! You can get Time and People anywhere. But titles like Dissent, Anarchy, Bust, Believer, Adshock (I think that's what it was called) and Culture Warrior (ditto)? You could find magazines catering to every sub-culture and point of view imaginable. How they all stayed in print is beyond me.

    I suppose somebody sooner or later is going to bring up the I-pad as an improvement over books. Possibly. But since I've never actually held one in my hand, and it may be quite some time before I can afford to do so, I reserve the right to be skeptical. Which reminds me, I think Borders also carried a magazine called Luddite.

  4. kirk-yes! the magazine selection was unbelievable. i don't like e-readers of any ilk. i like the kinesthetics of holding a book in my hands, i like the way they smell (as long as it's not of cigarettes), i like to hear the pages move. i also like that you can throw a book across the room without dire technological consequences (given decent aim)!
    is there a luddite club?

  5. It troubles me to see any purveyor of books go down. I put it in the same category as our foundering, ineffective libraries and the dearth of handwritten letters in our world. It makes me sad. Sorry, iPad, Kindle or anything techno does not replace the experience of reading or writing for me. I wonder if I am obsolete, too.

  6. I loved gong to bookstores and have always like Borders better than Barns and Noble.
    Will also miss the magazine section at Borders.
    When I first moved back to Tucson one of the first stores I went to besides the hardware and grocery store was Borders.
    I loved just walking in a bookstore so intriguing with the hope of just walking around you might find something wonderful to read.
    Now that the Borders and Barnes and Noble have eaten up all the smaller book stores, I wonder if we will still have bookstores ?
    I like used bookstores OK but I love opening a new book, holding it, the feel and smell.
    I can stand the kindle, I can't hold one, there is no color and no art very barbaric for me.

    I an very sad at another bookstore closing.

    cheers, parsnip

  7. @rraine--I so far have never used an ebook or kindle or ipad or whatever else is out there, so I can't say for sure whether I would like them or not. I do know one thing--when I read, I prefer the words or letters to be FLAT. The library where I am now writing this recently replaced all their computers. The letters on these new computer screens have an odd quasi-three dimensionality about them. It's almost like they shadows or halos or aoras or something. I wonder if they're comprised of ectoplasma?

    @rraine--Well, I used to think the library where I now sit and write this was perfectly effective and non-foundering until they got these new computers with the 3D text (this might be the subject of a future post). If words on paper are on the way out, then it's fair to expect that whatever replaces it retains some of the former's simplicity. For instance, when I want to turn a page of a book or magazine, I don't have to look at a tiny hourglass whose sand never moves, or stare at a purple bar at the bottom of the page that sometimes only grows half the length it supposed to before calling it quits. And, of course, a book never crashes or freezes up.

    @parsnip--You don't like the kindle, either? Another reason for me to put off my purchase! I agree: bookstores are, or at least were, intriguing.

  8. @Leslie--I apologize. That second paragraph in the comment above was a response to YOUR comment, not rraines.

    It's all these damn 3D words on this computer screen. It's playing havoc with my eyeballs!

  9. No harm done, my friend ~ I'm not overly sensitive! ;~}