Borders bookstores is going out of business. In fact, in most places it has already shut its doors. This is not news.
The one near my home was not shut down and emptied immediately - it is still selling off its inventory and fixtures. As a result, it really hadn't occurred to me that this was not the case everywhere. I was in the Seattle area PAX weekend (but not at PAX - I had a great visit with my in-laws) and saw two Borders locations that were shut down and emptied as fast as they could be. I'm assuming this is due to high rents - one was in a mid-to-high end shopping center and the other was in SEA-TAC (the Seattle Tacoma airport - I can't fault them as I'm from a city whose airports are Hobby and Bush).
So what does this have to do with anything? Not much. I have fond memories of that location as I would go there to write, sitting up in the coffee bar area, which has a good view. We bought some books there just after the closure was announced and chatted with the manager, who was part of our book club. She was willing to help regular customers as much as she could, but really didn't like the "piranhas" - people who had never been in the store before, didn't know where things were, were looking for "great deals" on high end popular books, and were rude about it when it was explained to them that the store had not received new inventory in two weeks and the inventory computers had been removed immediately by the corporate office. The local Borders is now selling things 60-80% off and my wife and I could not resist going in on our way to the grocery store.
It was kind of spooky. The upstairs is 60-70% empty, with huge swaths of shelves now empty. The kids section was closed off (along with the restrooms - quite wisely I believe). It being a holiday weekend, there were a lot of folks there looking around. We picked up seven things for about $7 each. I picked up a Penguin Classics version of Livy's Rome and the Mediterranean, the Stackpole Military History Series book Poland Betrayed (I'm a bit of a sucker for WWII books), the movie The Forbidden Kingdom (starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan), and the 2 CD Brian Setzer Orchestra The Ultimate Collection. My wife picked up two books of her own and the NCIS 2 CD set of the TV soundtrack, which also has some interesting music on it.
Both sets of CDs are going on my iPod Nano for regular listening to. The Forbidden Kingdom is giving me an idea for my next One Day Movie Fest. I'm thinking Hong Kong action stars: one movie from "back in the day" followed by a "Hollywood" movie. I'd like to showcase Chow Yun Fat, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and Michelle Yeoh, which would give a basis of eight movies and about 12 hours of screen time. Suggestions are welcome.
As to the books, I feel a need to read more Livy. In college, I studied ancient Greece and ancient Rome as part of my degree plan, but did not spend enough time reading around (spent WAY too much time playing RPGs). I've spent the last 15 years working to fix that, getting more diligent as time goes on. The military history book is part of a hobby within a hobby for me. WWII has tons of story and gaming possibilities and is just plain interesting to read about. That's the writer and gamer in me talking. I'm expecting to take away some insight on how belligerent governments go after their weaker neighbors. This will be handy for some tabletop miniatures gaming I want to set up.
That's it for right now. Tomorrow, I should have my first adventure log for my Fragments campaign (Traveller using the Hero System).