I have been following the cringe-worthy demise of Borders over the past year or so. I have always preferred Borders over Barnes & Noble. The preference stems from the fact that the local Borders was one of my high school hangouts. Who knows how many times I went to Borders to browse and sit in the café with Daisy and Marge. Countless times! It was probably my third home. Well, tied for third. (Second = Wegmans. Third = a tie between Borders and the mall.)
Fast forward to 2006. When I saw that a new Borders was opening across the street from my office, I was psyched. Since I was working in publishing, I naturally needed a part-time job to supplement my income. Bookselling seemed perfect.
I think my whole Borders experience was so unique because I happened to work at a brand-new store. My coworkers and I (the majority of which were exuberant college kids, with a sprinkling of professionals such as myself [hi, Melissa!]) literally put the books on the shelves before the store opened. It felt like “our” store.
I spent approximately two years’ worth of Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Borders on Boylston Street. Some nights of boredom (being stranded in Paperchase)…some nights of excitement (thieves stealing DVDs, homeless people doing weird things in the bathrooms)…most nights, I enjoyed helping people find books and enjoyed talking about books and being silly with my coworkers.
Things gradually started to change. The college-age kids graduated, or found other jobs. My fellow professionals got burned out and quit. The original dream team was no more. I eventually quit because the pay wasn’t worth the late nights anymore.
Fast forward to yesterday. In the morning, I read that Borders had filed for bankruptcy. Within a few hours, it was announced that 200 stores would be closing, 6 in Massachusetts. I looked at the list. There was Borders on Boylston.
I always feel sad when a bookstore closes. I don’t really care if it’s part of a big corporate chain, or the neighborhood bookstore. It’s still one fewer place for people to browse for and buy books. The higher-ups at Borders have screwed the pooch and the store closings must happen. Borders owes millions of dollars to publishers. I do hope that the company can rescue itself and get back on track someday.
And RIP, Borders on Boylston.