Borders Epitath: Bad Romance

Today is the last day for the Borders bookstore in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. The kids are out of school today, so I decided to take them there to see what might be left and to say good bye to the store.

Throughout the closing process, the staff had maintained a very neat and orderly store as was still the case on this last day. The second floor had been cleared of books and closed off since last week. That was when I bought what would prove to be my last arm load of manga for $1 per book. At that time there was still about a bookshelf full of manga and about twice that of science fiction. Today there was nothing left except 3 shelves of romance novels.

We were all rather disappointed that all remained were romance books. Or as my oldest daughter loudly proclaimed, “trashy novels!” We did eventually find 4 or 5 sci-fi novels amongst the trashy ones, but nothing we wanted to buy, even at 50 cents each. So we left the store for the final time and got pizza at Cholie’s nearby.

On the way home, my oldest son expressed his belief that it was eBooks that killed the Borders. While this is certainly a part of the story, I could not help but wonder if all of those unsold romance novels were taking up space that should have been used to sell books people actually wanted to buy. Watching the end of my neighborhood Borders has also convinced me that paper books have become too expensive. When the closing sale began and the book prices were cut %30, people came in droves. People always come out for closing sales, but maybe if the books were 30 or 40 percent cheaper all the time, there would not have been a need to close the store at all.

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