Like everyone else in the book business these past few months, we’d been wondering about the fate of Borders—whether the whole company would go under, completely taking out one of the major bookstore players. We knew there’d be a big announcement soon, and we’d been waiting for the shoe to drop.
So this week’s news—that Borders has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is closing about a third of its stores—wasn’t worst we were expecting, but it’s pretty bittersweet. Galleycat and other sites posted lists of the stores slated to close, and this week on Twitter we watched as the lists circulated and the news hit closer to home—lots of homes, all around the country.
Reading over the list of stores from Illinois, my heart sank as one by one, I recognized the locations. Goodbye to the store on Lincoln Avenue that was such a convenient stop on my way home from work; farewell to the Evanston store that my fiance and I loved to browse after seeing a movie at the Century; so long to the store in the gorgeous old terra-cotta building in Uptown. And goodbye and best wishes to all the dedicated booksellers who worked at all these stores that are soon to be shuttered. Hope they find other opportunities in the world of books soon.
Here in the Chicago area it appears that the store in Oakbrook, Border’s oldest Illinois location, will stay open. I have good memories from that store, too: it was the first Borders I ever visited, just after I got out of grad school. After six years of university life I wasn’t looking forward my stint of living with my folks in the suburbs while I searched for jobs, but that Borders was a terrific oasis for me and helped remind me that people who love books are everywhere.
No matter what happens in the book business, that’s still true.