The big news this week is the closing of lots of Borders stores. The store closest to me is staying open but the other Borders in the area is closing. I received an email advertising everything 20-40% off, except for selected items. I've been to store closings before, though never for a bookstore, and I know those selected items are usually the things I want. Still, I'm going to visit. I heard from a friend that the cafe in the closing store packed up their Seattle's Best, mugs, beans and all the first day the news came out. So I guess I'm not getting 40% off any flavored coffee beans or travel mugs.
I usually spend some time in the Borders' cafe each time I go book shopping. Even if I don't buy a book, I'm likely to spend some money on a drink. My daughter likes to spend hours in the cafe. Why? Sitting there recently, I jotted down some of the reasons I find sitting in the cafe so pleasant.
As I mentioned, I usually indulge in some fancy coffee drink and once in a great while, I'll purchase one of the treats behind the glass display case. The stuffed pretzels are my favorite. While I'm sipping my fine caffeinated drink, I can people watch. There are a few people I see fairly often at Borders but there always some new characters to wonder about.
I always carry a few magazines and books to the cafe with me. Reading the first chapter or even a few pages will either intrigue me or not. I not only discover a hint of the story plot but also get a taste of the writer's voice and style. Before I spend my money on a book, especially an author new to me, I can make a more informed decision. I've used the time to look up something in a reference book or magazine.
Some of the people I watch use the cafe for different things. I've seen students studying together, young people being tutored, and others meeting for reasons unknown. Last week I saw a young couple meet their wedding planner. At an earlier visit, I saw three friends planning a business venture. They had a half dozen books on starting a small business piled on their long table. Half the people in the cafe on any given day have their computers open, working or playing, but doing it with a cup of java on hand.
In every bookstore, Barnes and Noble has the best, you find an interesting collection of journals, leather bound, lined and unlined, snap-together covers and even pens to match. Every writer needs at least one. Other cool things can be found, jigsaw puzzles, brainy games and calendars of every kind. Borders also carries a selection of Burt's Bees products including my favorite lip balm.
And of course there are books. And book lovers. Even though more of us are buying our books and reading them via eReaders, I still want those physical stores to stay open. I want to visit, drink coffee and relax in the company of other bibliophiles.
Besides buying books are there other reasons you visit your local bookstore? Are you losing a Borders near you? Do you see the future of brick and mortar stores as optimistic or limited?