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It was with sadness that I heard about the financial trouble that Borders Bookstores were having. Not that it is any surprise. What with the all mighty Amazon purchasing ease, the low prices at the all encompassing Wall-Mart  and the rise of the e-book the writing seems to have been on the wall for a while.

So let us take a step back from mourning and think about the good that can come of this. First, what do we love about Borders? Big open spaces, variety, browsing, coffee, weekend entertainers, book signings…and although it would be great  if the remaining Borders could leave their doors open were they really so unique? The big complaint with Big Box stores has always been that they take away from the little guy. Arise yon tiny bookstore, thine time has come again! I would love to see a resurgence in the mom and pop bookstore. As  the coffee shop has shown us there still seems to be a communal joy in being out in public, a need for a sense of community perhaps. Then there are the poorly funded yet still limping libraries. Why is it we can drink beverages in the library now? Borders Bookstores. Libraries saw the need to compete with the upstart bookstore that was making the book discovery process a more pleasant experience. If libraries could manage to market their community services a little better people may just discover that there are a host of activities from the obvious book club to the less obvious concerts, movies and art exhibits happening in our libraries. And they’re free.

One thing I thought was nice about Borders was all of the seating both in the coffee shop and the book store proper. Of course, I could never sit in any of it because they were all consistently occupied. Coffee shop meets living room.  Comfortable, warm, and friendly. There has been argument made that the ability to quietly read in peace and comfort at the local Borders took business away from local libraries. Which could be, particularly when you consider that they had better hours than my local libraries whose funding sadly diminishes with every passing budget scrutinization.

My hope really is that with the rare death of a behemoth we can see a resurgence in the little book store and the library. Perhaps we will just a see larger growth in Amazon, not that I don’t love Amazon, but I hope not.