By Mamta Patel Nagaraja, Ph.D.
It’s crazy. I wasn’t going to write about Borders because I thought I was the last to know and who wants to read about an old news story, right? I was alerted on Thursday night, though I refused to believe it until Friday. Let me explain my stubbornness. My home page is CNN, and my iPAD alerts me to breaking news by the minute. I listen to NPR every morning on my way to a grueling 5:45 AM workout…outdoor workout (read: hot, humid, record-breaking heat index outdoor workout). Yet, I swear I had no idea that Borders was closing until I received the email that broke my heart, from Borders themselves: ” A fond farewell…Thank you for shopping at Borders.”
Apparently reports of liquidation were diffused throughout the internet on Monday. That’s four full days of not knowing. But, on the bright side, that’s four fewer days of mourning. Ahhh, the silver lining.
You see – Borders is my store of choice. It has become what my hometown library was to me. My place to go. To be at peace. To browse. To sit and learn. It was my happy place, if you will. On Friday, disconcerted by the e-finding, I scavenged CNN.com for a headline or something. Yet, none. I found not one piece of news on it. I just searched CNN.com again and all I can find is an Opinion article and a CNN Money article. At least I don’t feel as crazy. Why the news skipped right over the closing of yet another US business and one that has graced our nation for 40 years-I will never know.
I like to imagine that I am still young at heart, with my blog and Facebook (albeit, a reluctanct use of). My knowledge of Hipstamatic and Instagram. Swype and iPADs. But, in reality, I am quite a traditionalist at heart. I love the library and attained a library card within a few days of moving to D.C. I am probably the only one who still cares to know the Dewey Decimal System. And, don’t even get me started on the look, feel, and touch of books. Oh and the wonderful smell. It’s…gosh. How do you describe sentiment? You can’t get any of that on an e-reader. Not the Kindle or the Nook. Not even the Kobo no one knew about (Reason 1, Borders. Reason 1). But, I fear that I am part of the dying population who feels this way.
So I took the weekend to really think about this whole “Borders closing thing.” And I thought back to the last time I bought a book from Borders. It shames me to say that I opted for the $ 0.01 book + Shipping on Amazon. Sad, huh? That it all comes down to money. And the internet. So, with that partial explanation, I have come to peace with the news. The shock has worn off, but the sentimental burning hasn’t appeased.
So long, Borders. It is my sincere hope that this is not a sign of what is to come – the end of all non-internet bookstores and heaven help me, libraries.