I recently read this column by author Mitch Albom (of Tuesdays with Morrie fame) about the downfall of Borders as a symbol of the challenges facing all bookstores.
I enjoyed his column and found it interesting. We often hear writers and readers bemoaning the decline of independent bookstores, so I found it intriguing to hear Albom apply many of these same laments to Borders' bankruptcy and on-going difficulties. I know that Borders is sometimes considered an evil "big box" store - on a par with all the other huge conglomerates now clogging America's suburbs - but I have to admit that, like Albom, I have a soft spot in my heart for Borders. I loved his descriptions in this essay about the joys of exploring the big bookstores, and I agree.
I love going to Borders and for some reason have always preferred it to Barnes & Noble (though I did mostly shop at a local, independent bookstore for the few years we had one in our town). I was hoping that the bankruptcy proceedings would save the chain, but I guess it's not looking good.
Even though I get many of my books through the library - I just can't afford to buy all the books I read! - I will continue to buy books as gifts, at Borders while it's there or at an independent bookstore that's a bit of a longer drive from here. What will happen in the future? I can't even imagine a world without bookstores to roam and browse through.