When I was younger, one of my favorite places to go was the bookstore, particularly Borders. I could and would spend countless hours in there; sitting back in the children’s section, roaming the the music stacks, attending midnight book releases and getting lattes for my mother from the cafe.
Borders became a playground of sorts for me and my sisters. When we could no longer bear sitting around our mother’s store we would walk down to the big store on the end. The first few times we went, we would only stay in the children’s section and read those little, flimsy beginner level books. As the years passed, we would venture to other areas of the store: Science-fiction, Mystery, Photography, music, etc. In the time of Harry Potter, we would always make sure we reserved our copies at Borders, there was nothing more satisfying than being able to walk into the store, go up to the counter and receive our books from the cart kept behind the sales desk. While others tried to smooth talk the sales person into giving them a copy that they didn’t reserve, too bad for them. I was going home to start reading mine while they had to wait few more weeks to get theirs.
Twilight had become a financial and commercial success when I experienced my first midnight book release. My sister desperately wanted to be there for the release of the third installment Eclipse. I had not read these books, so naturally, I did not understand all the hoopla surrounding this franchise. The store was filled with twi-hards; girls declaring themselves for either Vampire Edward or Werewolf Jacob. The staff had put together a great number of activities for the fans to participate in, everything from coloring to a colorful debate concerning the aforementioned guys. Even though I did not participate, watching the others do (including my sister) was rather amusing. When midnight was near, the line formed and ended up wrapping itself all the way around the store. Needless to say, at the end of the evening my sister excitedly left with a brand new book.
The end of an era is upon us, the era of physical bookstores. Granted eBooks have been around for some years now, and are not the direct cause of this demise. I do feel that the experience you have of going to the bookstore; walking around discovering, touching and sampling books; is dying. While the thought of being able to acquire a new book in under 60 seconds sounds appealing to many and perhaps even beneficial for others, there really is nothing like having the real thing in your hands. I also understand that we are living in the digital era, where everything is fast, instant, and portable. Adaptations must be made in order to keep up and remain relevant.
Even though Borders is leaving us, I hope the bookstore never does. Yes, we do live in a digital world; yes, eBooks and readers are fast and convenient; and yes, they are the future. It is just my hope that bookstores don’t become obsolete because of them. Everyone should have the memorable and tactile experience of a bookstore. Thanks for the memories!