Image by rentvine.com/Dave Dugdale via Flickr
When the news that Borders is closing all of its stores nationwide hit the wires, I was stunned. I knew that Borders had been having problems and had filed for bankruptcy, but I foolishly assumed it would all work out in the end. After all, Borders is one of my favorite places to go and get lost in my thoughts, how could that sanctuary just disappear?
As egocentric as that sounds, I am truly mourning the loss of Borders. The city in which I live really has no other bookstores of which to speak. When Borders opened here it was poorly received because many (if not most) of the small, independent bookstores around couldn’t survive the competition. In an ironic twist, there are almost no independent bookstores left to help me through the grieving process.
My Facebook page and my Google+ stream have been full of discussion about Borders closing and the reaction has been mixed. Many people, like me, are devastated to lose a brick and mortar bookstore. But just as many are touting this as the inevitable future in which we turn toward eBook readers and virtual browsing.
What I’m mourning isn’t just the loss of a brick and mortar bookstore, it’s the loss of a part of my childhood that, until now, I’ve been lucky enough to share with my children.
Ever since I was a child, the library and the bookstore have been my safe havens. I love the feel of a new book, the anticipation of reading something new and giving myself just a peek at the first page. I love the heft of the book in my hands and the smell of the paper. I love the physical search through book after book and shelf after shelf to find a story that looks interesting.
I’ve passed that love on to my children. My older children spend hours wandering Borders, looking at publisher logos and thumbing though books. No matter how much I love my Kindle, none of us can have that experience while browsing virtually. We can’t sit amongst the stacks, letting the comfort of the pages drain away the stress of a tough day at work or a fight with a best friend.
As silly as it may be, I’m grieving those losses. I can see myself going through the 5 stages of grief.
I’ve been through denial (What? Borders won’t close!).
I’ve been angry (What are we going to do without Borders? They can’t do this!).
With the help of a possible deal with Books-A-Million, I’ve been through bargaining (You see, they’ll be a bookstore here after all!).
Now I’m moving past depression (No Books-A-Million? Well, that kills my hope.) into acceptance.
We’ll just have to find new ways to have those physical experiences with books. We’ll go to the library more often or take road trips to the nearest Barnes and Noble. Books bring our family joy and we'll seek out that joy.
What brings your family joy?