Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Long Good-Buy

I was sad to learn the nearby Borders store was closing. But little did I know what that was going to mean for my bookshelves and for my wallet.

Every week, I received an email seducing me with letting me know about the new sale prices - 20%-30%, 30%-40%, 40%-50% off. My husband and I went every week. We were addicted - me to the books, him to the discounts. I piled books in my basket only to hand it off to him because it got too heavy. Before going to the cashier, we'd weed through the books we'd chosen and determine how badly I wanted it versus how good a discount it was. It was the perfect storm and we were riding the waves.

And the discounts kept coming - 50%-60%, 60%-70% off. And so did new merchandise. Other stores sent their inventory so fiction hardcovers and paperbacks and business books and writing guides that weren't there the week before now teased us from the shelves, flaunting themselves beneath handwritten signs declaring 75% off.   

Each time, as we lugged our bags to the car, we'd tell ourselves that this was it, we wouldn't be back next week. Yeah, right. Our bookshelves groaned and begged for us to stop. Our almost-bare wallets stared blankly back at us as we tried to decide between buying more books or more milk. (Don't worry, the tortoises always had enough to eat. They made sure of that.)

And then, finally, it was over. Our Borders closed its doors. No more emails, no more sales. My giddiness subsided and I was left feeling...bereft. Not so much because the buying sprees were over but because the realization had sunk in. People lost their jobs. One more gathering place for literary groups and book lovers was gone. Another opportunity to sit and dream and sip coffee in a place surrounded by poets and playwrights and children's book authors had disappeared.

We had shopped at the store before - we spread our book business around - but never like this. I look at my full shelves and I see new authors and hard covers I probably wouldn't have bought except for the great sales, except for the store's closing. It's a small consolation but it's one I cling to.


  1. Hi Madeline,
    Our Borders store at the mall closed last month, so I share your pain.

  2. It's a shame, isn't it, Donna? I mean, there are other bookstores around here but still...

  3. We lost both of ours, but the Barnes & Noble a block away is still open. Not very busy, but open. I always buy from Amazon, but I hate to see what they're doing to bookstores. Inevitable? Probably.

  4. I used to love to wander around the big chain bookstores with a coffee, perusing the books. Now, though, it often feels like I'm wandering around a department store or an electronics store - what happened to all the BOOKS in the BOOKSTORE?