I miss my Borders. The Borders bookstore on Hall Road in Utica, Mich. was my hangout. I'd drop in whenever I was in the mood to browse for books, and inevitably, I'd leave with great armfuls.
There's a Barnes & Noble a few miles away from my still-empty Borders. I've tried shopping there, but it's not the same. The store looks different. Feels different. It doesn't feel like home.
Recently I realized something that, for an author who makes her living writing novels, is somewhat horrifying: Since Borders went out of business, I'm buying fewer books.
I asked a few writer friends if the same was true for them. Turns out, I'm not the only one.
"My buying habits have definitely changed," says Deborah Klaus. "We still have a Barnes & Noble, but it feels like an apples and oranges situation. Borders had a beating heart. And I miss it. It sucks that Borders is gone."
"No, I don't buy as many books as I'm an impulse buyer," Brenda Birch agrees. "There's a big empty store in Northlake Mall in Charlotte. I hope another indy or chain moves in and soon. Sadly, there are no other bookstores close by. I used to go in just to browse and ended up spending at least $50.00 each visit."
"Borders in my small city of Danbury, Conn., was less than 10 minutes from my home," says multi-published author Lauren Baratz-Logsted. "Most weekends, my whole family would go there. Almost all birthday presents for the gazillion birthday parties my daughter goes to were bought there. Most Christmas and Hanukkah presents were bought there. Danbury doesn't have any general independents and the Barnes & Noble is on the other side of the city, about 20-25 minutes away with traffic. It's not close enough to just drop in for no reason. I'll go there for specific things or if I'm already in the area, but I think it's obvious that without Borders, my purchases of books has drastically decreased."
"The closing of the two Borders nearest to me is what finally pushed me into buying an ereader," Lynette Eklund says. "I'm still really hoping an indy store will replace at least one of them."
Fortunately, not every author I surveyed admits to buying fewer books in a world without Borders.
"I think that I might actually buy more ebooks and more tree books now because I can't go to Borders," says Amy Sue Nathan. "I get an itchy clicking finger and just buy, buy, buy. There's no heft when loading a virtual shopping basket, no coffee and cake distractions, no wind-up toys or chocolates. I miss the browsing though, that's for sure."
Pamela Toler agrees:
My first stop for books is my neighborhood independent bookstore (Go Seminary Coop Books!). That said, I was at Borders a lot. There was one a five minute walk from my house and two in downtown Chicago. I always stopped at them when I had time to kill. Sometimes I walked down to the local store just to take a break. I always bought books when I was there.
Do I buy fewer books with Borders gone? Having just paid my monthly bookstore tab, I'm pretty sure the answer is no. But I miss them.
As do I. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go visit a bookstore.