Closing Time

During college, I would visit Borders almost every weekend. As a bookstore, it fit somewhere between the city-staple Barnes and Nobel and the Books-A-Million that I had grown up with.  It didn’t serve Starbucks, but it served up a hearty clearance section and plenty of comfortable chairs in its cafe.  On a visit almost a year after graduation, the store had barely changed, and I still saw the same people.  One commented that he hadn’t seen me in a while, so it felt like I had never moved away at all.

The familiarity of Borders is gone now, as are most of the books, as the store enters its last two days.  The mark-downs are drastic – 80-90% – so some new books cost less than a dollar. But inventory is low and limited to several romance novels and an endless supply of Sarah Palin books, Lady Gaga magazines, and a  Jonas brothers booklet that’s going for about 20 cents.  Perhaps pop culture has conquered the more traditional book, but in this case it sits on the shelf a little bit longer.

Fortunately, the store closes in the same spirit that it operated, with good music playing over the speakers, even after the cafe has shut down, its fixtures sold piece by piece.  Customers carry out bookcases at the rate of three for $100, and it’s my hope that they will be filled again.  As we left, the song changed to Semi-Sonic’s “Closing Time,” a very appropriate end to this beginning.

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