Friday, August 12, 2011

Quote of the Day (Jay Nordlinger, on Borders' Final Chapter)

“I think this new age for media is a bonanza, a multifaceted gift to mankind. But you’ll understand, I bet, if I offer one cheer for bricks and mortar, and quirky staffs, and popping in and out. You’ll understand, too, if I shed a tear—half a tear, for the dear, old Borders Book Shop.”—Jay Nordlinger, “An End to Borders,” National Review, August 15, 2011

A few months ago, when I wrote about the closure of a couple of Borders stores near me, it felt as if the inevitable were only being momentarily delayed. Now the end is truly here for Borders Books and Music.

I took the photograph accompanying this post outside the Bordes store in Ramsey, N.J. There, as well as in the large location in New York’s Columbus Circle, the lines were long—and sometimes staffers’ tempers (no doubt not helped by the lack of air conditioning at the height of this summer’s height wave in the latter) were short.

Nordlinger’s article captures the ambivalence many of us feel about the larger phenomenon of disappearing books-and-media megastore over the last several years. I’m sure that a number of small independents think the megastores are finally getting a taste of their own medicine for putting smaller mom-and-pops and regional chains out of business. But while they lasted, the big stores were a browser’s delight. The Internet simply can’t replace the sheer physical pleasure of going through one of these.

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