Sunday, July 24, 2011
Picking The Bones Clean
But with the news that Borders is closing for good, and the fact that I still needed to buy Collide by Megan Hart - I decided to hit the now closest, but not for long, Borders, the next town over.
I want to make this clear. I went on Saturday afternoon. The Going Out Of Business signs were hung on Friday. People, the place looked like a cloud of locusts had rolled into town, and set up camp over the building. It was chaos. Romance novels in the mystery section. Biographies in the romance section. People had just swooped in like carpetbaggers, randomly picked up stuff, and then just as randomly set it down wherever the hell they saw fit (and by people - I mean shoppers, not employees).
I'll be honest, it was depressing. Really, really depressing. The Borders that used to exist around the corner from where I live, was one of the stores that was closed during the first wave. It took a couple of weeks for that store to get in this state. Now that the whole company is almost done circling the drain? Yeah, 24 hours to look like something the cat dragged in. That tiny, orderly part of my librarian brain was screaming inside. My skin started to itch.
I wish I had bribed My Man to come with me, if only to hold a spot in the checkout line while I took my time browsing. I spent 30 minutes, just standing in line to hand over my credit card. Now given the sheer volume of people there, and the 6 cashiers they had working? 30 minutes of me waiting is actually fairly impressive. They were moving things along.
Still, I was a bit of a curmudgeon. I know I was there, just like everyone else, picking the flesh off the dead carcass, but it's always sad to see the locusts descend after the fact. After the business is kaput and no amount of consumer money throwing around is going to save it. Plus just looking at my TBR pile should tell anyone that it wasn't my fault that Borders went under.
It's....depressing. Because at the end of the day, as much as I think the Internet is awesome-sauce, as great and convenient as I think ebooks are, I'll be brutally honest: Nothing, absolutely nothing in the digital universe, has been able to duplicate that Browsing Experience for me. That feeling of walking into any bookstore or library, seeing actual physical "stuff" on the shelves, and running my fingers over spine labels as my eyes skim across book titles.
If you can live without this, I say bully for you. For me though, that browsing flips a big ol' nostalgia switch for me. It's how I fell in love with reading. When I got old enough, my Mom would let me ride my bike to the local public library. Once there, I had no idea what I was looking for half the time. I would just go to the general fiction stacks and let my fingers do the walking. People, this is how I started reading Mary Higgins Clark, Marcia Muller, Barbara Michaels, Sue Grafton, Lilian Jackson Braun, and Nancy Drew. I generally did not get book recommendations. I browsed. I tried stuff. If I liked it? Great. If I didn't? Back to the drawing board. This is certainly a more hit or miss method to finding a "good" read - but you know what? It's certainly adventurous. And now I have one less outlet for my adventurous side. Because once I got actual disposable income? I did a big chunk of my browsing in bookstores.
Someone pass the cheese to go with my whine.