We knew Borders' bankruptcy was coming; it wasn't a particularly well-kept secret, either in the business pages or in the stores themselves, which long ago began pushing books off the shelves to make room for tchotchkes and trinkets that had nothing at all to do with, ya know, books. It's a sad day nevertheless, and many are mourning the loss: I landed at Dallas-Fort Worth International this afternoon, having just arrived back from a faraway place where bookstores are still thriving and where the printed-on-paper word remains revered, and the first 21 e-mails in my in-box were about this end of an era.
When I get into the office tomorrow I'll try to dig up the lengthy piece I wrote in the fall of '92 about Borders' first Dallas outpost at Preston Royal, which quickly became my home away from home. But I did call Tom Borders this evening -- the books-and-music store's co-founder lives in Austin now, having left Ann Arbor, Michigan, to run a film production company.
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Borders, who started the store in '71 with his brother Louis, didn't want to talk about today's news. Nor was he interested in reflecting on what was, except to say that, yup, back when Borders came to Dallas, that was the chain's "heyday," but that "times have changed -- irrevocably, it would seem." Yes, yes it would.