I felt like crying when I read that Borders planned to liquidate its inventory and close its remaining stores.
I'm old enough to remember the days when all you had were tiny Walden's and B. Dalton stores at the mall that hardly carried anything. So the past few decades have been a golden age for those of us who love to browse in bookstores, and it seems to be ending. (I loved record stores too, but those are even longer gone.)
I still remember my first visit to a book superstore - I was in high school and it was the Barnes & Noble at Downtown Crossing in Boston. I'm not even sure if it's still there but at the time, it had three floors including used books in the basement. I bought a used paperback copy of Frank Herbert's novel Dune, which I loved.
Since then, I've spent countless hours at Borders and Barnes & Noble. Sometimes it's my main social activity for the weekend. I'm beyond the age where I want to spend Sunday afternoon trying on clothes at the mall or seeing the latest new release at the multiplex. (Which probably doesn't interest me anyway.)
And I almost always buy something. I'm not one of those people who thumbs through a book to see whether I'd like it and then orders it from Amazon. In the past few years, I've also built up my collection of Broadway cast recordings at Borders. (Granted, I used discount coupons a lot but I spent money.)
Yes, there are a couple of independent bookstores near me but they're small and it's difficult to find parking. There's not much room for sitting, not much to look through, no place to get an iced tea. And I feel awkward if I leave without buying anything. The two Barnes & Noble stores are farther away.
So I'll probably just use Amazon more, which is a shame. I didn't leave bookstores - they left me.