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Bookstore's end a sad sight

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By Calen McKinney

 

It was really sad seeing them like that.

Scattered, out of order, picked through, marked down and discarded for some other bargain shopper to ravage.

I went to Louisville this past weekend and spent part of the day shopping in my favorite part of town.

One of my stops was to Border's bookstore. I always look forward to going to Border's because of the great selection of books and miscellaneous items such as bookmarks, ink pens, zipper pouches, key chains, television and movie memorabilia and much more.

But this trip to Border's was different. The store is closing and was decorated with red and white "Store Closing" sale signs.

Border's, like many other businesses hurt by the downturn in the economy, has filed bankruptcy and will close many of its stores. Some will remain open, though my favorite one will soon close its doors for the last time.

Newly released books were marked down 30 to 40 percent, along with all of the store's CDs and DVDs.

While sales are good - especially in today's economy - it was very sad to see all the store's fixtures for sale, along with the big, comfy chairs I used to sit in while reading and enjoying something to eat and drink at the café.

Everything was for sale ... from the CD racks to the computers used to search for the name of an author to the mixers and cups used to make the coffee for devoted readers.

If you know me at all, you know I enjoy a good book. I look forward to an annual book conference in Bowling Green and love hearing authors discuss their writing process. I love any good story.

But seeing this bookstore - once a Mecca that helped its followers learn and travel anywhere without leaving our homes - nearly bare and picked through just didn't settle well with me.

I told the cashier that I was saddened to see the store go. She commiserated with me for a few minutes before heading to assist her final customers.

I likely won't go back to Border's. This sight was just too sad for me.

I realize that not everyone enjoys reading and some would rather read a book on an electronic device than - gasp - actually hold pieces of paper that have been bound together. I just don't get that, though.

I remember spending my weekends at the Taylor County Public Library as a child, checking out as many books as they would let me.

I remember reading with a flashlight under the covers because it was late and I really should have been asleep.

I know the smell of a new book and hate it when the spine is cracked.

I love seeing colorful book covers and wondering how the art was chosen.

I think about how the author came up with the book title and always read the book's jacket and author biography.

I certainly hope people today still read actual books.

It would be a shame for great authors like Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, David Baldacci, Sue Grafton and others to close up shop, too.