A Fond Farewell… Borders Bookstore

Homey Borders bookstore facade

You read right, Borders is closing its doors for good. This is really sad. As a regular tourist in the US, I have fond memories of browsing around their stores. I make sure to go in each branch I come across to at least smell the paper and the coffee in the air. I’m pretty sure I bought a few items from them too.

Not to be melodramatic, but truth is e-commerce is killing brick & mortar. I am partly to blame; the guilt is there. I made my first online purchase in 2001, a full decade ago. Around the same time, I helped set up and run Yehey.com’s E-Commerce pages.  Today, I am a regular customer of  B&H Photo’s online store for most of my gadget and photography needs, and as a result have already been snobbing Best Buy outlets. Truth is, online shopping has it’s own joys: the infinite selection, the anxious waiting for the UPS man to arrive, the un-boxing of the brown shipping box…

Such joy, the brown box has arrived!

Call me old school, but for me nothing beats reading paperbacks and the occasional hardbound. Reading is not just about reading, it’s about the smell and texture of the paper. It’s about the patina of creases, folds, coffee stains and bread crumbs. It’s about the gratifying act of placing a bookmark (mine are usually magazine subscription cards) to indicate your progress. It’s reading at the airport and letting other people know what your reading by letting them see the cover art (and not a blank leather case of a Kindle). Speaking of that e-reader, don’t you dare call the latest Bourne novel in your Kindle a “book.”  To me, it’s just a “text file” of the book.

I recently bought the latest 007 novel, Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver at Powerbooks Alabang. As an IBM employee, I also recently got a complimentary copy of the company’s centennial book, Making the World Better. Yes, both are printed on paper, and I’m truly excited on reading them both.

Wow, did I digress… Anyway, I’m happy to have lived in a generation that has experienced brick and mortars like Borders. At the same time, I’m sad and even terrified, that my would be child/children wont get to see much of them, if any at all. I can imagine our future little ones asking: “Dad, why do we have to go out to buy something?” and “What are those stacks of bound paper on the shelves?”

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