Books

Remember When Borders Sold Books?

I needed a book yesterday and happened to be driving by the Borders in Preston Royal, which did not have said book. Or many books, for that matter. There were, however, bins full of discounted tchotchkes, aisles lined with 2011 calendars (each selling for $4.99) and displays hawking T-shirts and backpacks and posters. The place looked like a Spencer's.

The kids' book section has been overrun with board games and LEGO sets -- so much so even the 7-year-old who lives in my house wondered whether it was a toy store or a bookstore. The formerly majestic music store, long ago the most smartly managed smorgasbord of popular titles and hard-to-find collections in town, has been reduced to two tiny, hard-to-find bins, almost all the discs discounted best-ofs. And, look, it doesn't matter how you feel about President Dubya, who lives nearby. But that wall full of Decision Points near the bathroom probably isn't the best use of space.

And then this morning I read this on Gawker -- yet another of its heartbreaking compendia of bad-news items for the bookselling chain, which is reportedly inching toward bankruptcy. Very reminiscent of Blockbuster's horror story -- slow to keep up with new tech, it's now either sell off or die off. But I do know where you can get a copy of Bush's book. Or 240, at least.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky