For a long time I had a love/hate relationship with my neighborhood Borders bookstore.
Hate: No indie store to balance the corporate-driven selection.
Love: Less than a mile from home!
Hate: They rarely carried the titles I specifically went looking for.
Hate: What a mess that store was. Until a B&N moved in down the street, Borders was the only game in town, and they knew it. They didn't have to try, and so they didn't. Even after B&N opened, things didn't change much at Borders. Except they went out of business. Hm.
The store has been gone for over a year, but it didn't hurt much. There's always the B&N, which is better than nothing, though the lack of competition changed the B&N too. It became messy. The staff is indifferent. They won't (or can't) stock even a few copies of a local author's books, even when asked; even when the author explains she will be doing local school visits and kids WILL come asking for those books, and instead of ordering them from YOU and having to make a second trip back, they'll just go home and order from Amazon. Hm.
But still, I thought I could handle it.
Until last week, when the old Borders space reopened, as a HomeGoods store.
I have nothing against HomeGoods. Not sure any community needs another discount knick-knack store, but who am I to say?
Out of curiosity, I wandered in. And was surprised by a sudden feeling of loss. This huge space that once was filled with books, isn't.
It made me sad. Even though I had a love/hate relationship with Borders, at least that little piece of Earth was occupied by books. And now it's not. And I feel like my community is poorer as a result.