I’ve been reading this blog and it’s killing me. It’s killing me because in spite of the fact that for at least the last ten years I’ve been hoping and dreaming that Borders would go out of business—now it is, but reading this blog… I forgot that it would mean that at least 10,000 booksellers would lose their job. No good can come of this.
I sold my first book at 16 for a regional Chicago chain called Kroch’s and Brentano’s. The first book I sold was probably a Garfield treasury or maybe a Richard Bach allegory, but I loved selling books, because it was like missionary work for the world of ideas. And it seemed there was room in that world even for a cat with a lasagna issue.
I eventually worked for Borders, B&N, and a couple of indies, and then I inherited a bookstore, sort of. A wonderful store here where I currently live needed help, so I went to work for them not long after I came here to PA. And soon that store was offered to me, so I took it over. But this was only a few years before modems really came down in price. And once they did, my vocation changed, or perhaps appeared redundant.
Through that process, I’ve watched this world of bound paper metamorphosize and maybe metastasize. And now I wonder if it’s still something that needs people to quite the extent it used to. And if it doesn’t, what have we lost.
This blog is the story of one man, who is losing his job. But there is a bigger story behind this and you can hear it if you listen carefully. This is about the death of a community. And the perhaps ill-informed choice that community is making about its resources. And it is one of the saddest stories I’ve read in a while.