You Know It Don't Come Easy
Yesterday we all got some sad news: Borders Group will be sold to a liquidation group. All of its stores are closing, and 10,700 employees will be out of work.
There are so many things that could be said. After I wrote this editorial two weeks ago, I received more than a dozen considered responses. There were many things wrong at Borders. There are many things wrong with bookselling, with publishing, with the economy.
But today, we come not to bury a troubled company that has already made a difficult announcement. We come to praise its booksellers. For, despite any mistakes made at any level, from floor to corporate, at the height of its powers Borders offered the kind of handselling expertise that readers crave.
Each of the 11,000 people out looking for work has to consider this personally, so I will, too:
Goodbye to the first Borders store I visited back in the late 1980s. I marveled at a store that combined everything I wanted: a plethora of shelves, amazing magazine racks and a clean, well-lighted café.
Goodbye to Borders employees who helped me find books over the years for my two daughters, cheerfully checking "in the back" and allowing us (along with legions of others) to sit in their kids' sections for hours at a time.
Goodbye to the amazing store that had amazing events, like the Lyle Lovett concert that my husband and I attended for free, the Alexander McCall Smith reading and so many others I cannot list.
Goodbye to the Borders stores around the country that we visited as a family, always knowing that there would be a congenial, welcoming staff who would allow us to roam separately, then come back together at the checkout line, eagerly sharing our "finds" with each other.It isn't a simple time for bookselling, but today? I'm thinking about the booksellers, who didn't ask for much except our trust. Others are, too; check out this Twitter hashtag: #ThankUBorders. --Bethanne Patrick