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Closure of Borders: The Beginning of a Trend?

Bridgewater store one of nearly 400 remaining locations that will soon shut down.

Fear of the loss of traditional bookstores has some residents and patrons disappointed that the remaining stores, including the one on Commons Way in Bridgewater, will be closing their doors soon.

“I think it’s the first step in the end of bookstores,” Bridgewater resident Mike Thayer said.

Borders announced Monday that it will close the remaining 399 stores around the country, and lay off 11,000 people, after declaring bankruptcy in February and initially closing 200 stores.

Although the Bridgewater store was spared in that first round, it will close now, after 15 years in its location.

“Borders took a small store and turned it big,” Thayer said. “It has a good selection, and places to sit. I’m sorry to hear this is happening because I’ve enjoyed shopping here.”

For some people, the closing of such a big national chain of bookstores has made them worry that these traditional stores, and possibly libraries, will one day be a thing of the past.

“I am very sorry to see it go, and it is unfortunate because people are reading less,” Janie Davidson said as she sat reading in the bookstore on Tuesday. “Bookstores give you a chance to browse, but young people are reading less.”

“If people are not exposed to a bookstore, it is very unfortunate for them,” she added.

Davidson said that as a child, she spent a lot of time in libraries and bookstores, and she did the same with her kids.

“I think there is a chance they will be lost,” she said.

According to an article on paidcontent.org, a bidder did not initially step forward to take over Borders until June with The Gores Group, based in Los Angeles, that had been interested in about half of the stores that were still open. Najafi Companies then became the second bidder, the article said.

Borders moved forward with Najafi Companies, the article said, but after some back-and-forth bidding, a new bid was not submitted by the company, and the deal fell through.

According to a statement from Borders Group, the liquidation is expected to begin as early as July 22, with completion by the end of September.

Employees at the Borders in Bridgewater could not comment on the closing.

Although they will miss Borders itself, many local residents said they are concerned that this is just the first step in losing the art of reading books in hand.

“I like to see books in print,” said Andover resident Rosemarie Bancroft, who works in the Bridgewater area and has frequented the story for many years. “I think it is more relaxing to have the real book in hand.”

“Books are for relaxation, it is too hard to read on a computer,” she added.

Somerville resident Carly Bohach, who worked at Borders about 12 years ago, said she has friends who are authors who are still publishing books. And, she said, she is hoping that continues.

“I like to be able to open the book with my hands,” she said.

Bridgewater resident Ben Mapa, who sat in the Borders café working on his computer, said he is still a fan of hard-copy books, not reading them online.

“So many people are buying digital readers, but I don’t think it’s the same,” the college student said. “I like having bookshelves with books. I get to say, look at what I’ve read.”

Mapa said he understands that items like the Nook and others are more convenient than hard copies, but those devices are not for him.

“This is sad and disappointing because I like coming to read and drink coffee,” he said. “I am in the camp of liking to have books.”

And for many Bridgewater residents, the final concern is the removal of such a large store from a convenient location.

“This is the only big store close to where I work,” Bancroft said. “Especially in this area, it’s very accessible.”

“It’s convenient because the mall is right here and Best Buy is too,” Mapa added. “It is close to everything.”

Bohach said she is also pleased with the set-up of Borders, and finds the store easy to navigate, which she will miss in the future.

Mapa said he likes that the store offers the opportunity to read and have a cup of coffee.

“It’s like Starbucks with books and magazines,” he said with laugh. “It combines everything if I want to do some work.”

But everyone agreed that it is just disappointing to see the store close.

“People are moving past just reading books,” Thayer said. “I don’t know what can be done about it, but I wish I did.”

Kathy Neudachin Burkhour July 20, 2011 at 02:12 AM
this is such a shame. My favorite store. Loved shopping here to stock up on my books.
Maureen July 20, 2011 at 11:26 AM
This is sad, hard to imagine this Borders store not here! It's so convenient, the selections are great as is the level of customer service. This is one business I will truly miss
Mike July 21, 2011 at 04:14 AM
It's the only big store in the area? There's a Barnes & Noble approximately .4 miles away from the Borders in Bridgewater.
Kathy Neudachin Burkhour July 21, 2011 at 11:19 AM
There is a different feel to B & N. Borders has always been a warmer brighter store. I liked so much about it. Plus getting in and out of the parking lot at B & N is a nightmare. I will miss Borders so much. That was my "go to store" when I was feeling down. It will be much misses!
Gene Schmidt July 26, 2011 at 06:48 PM
I agree completely. Barnes and Noble is a good store, but it is not Borders. It has more of a generic bookstore feel to it, only on a larger scale. Borders seems to have been designed by folks who loved to read and who knew about books. You could find 3 or 4 nice edtions of Moby Dick or A Tale of Two Cities or Pride and Prejudice, whereas B&N will usually just have a standard issue paperback of each. I have never before felt sad over any store closing, but the demise of Borders has really brought me down. It will be missed!

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