It was with rue and regret this week that we at Casemate witnessed the demise of the Borders bookstore chain, which is now, unfortunately, about to close.
Individually we’ve all enjoyed their excellent and often beautiful stores, with an amazing array of offerings. We’ve also admired how Borders sought to make reading and book-buying a truly multi-faceted experience, offering cafés, signings, and other events within their doors in order to be an essential part of the community. Some people may forget that this national chain, now 40 years old, began as simply a single bookstore in Michigan. The owners—brothers named Borders—trusted in the literary curiosity of Americans nationwide.
From Casemate’s corporate point of view (usually “inside baseball”) let’s just say that Borders has always been an astute partner and ally for us all along. Casemate was founded in 2001 so reached out to Borders from the start. All our top sales people—David, Michael, Sean—have made frequent trips to Ann Arbor (still Borders’ HQ), where they found expert and interested buyers attuned to the market. On Casemate’s administrative side, their system of precise re-ordering—never forgetting successful books–has perhaps been the best of all, and their willingness to meet their obligations has always been manifest.
Going forward, it’s rather a sad thing to see Borders’ gallant effort come to a close. The “new economy” and internet surely had a part in it, and our hearts especially go out to their over 10,000 people and the communities they’ve served.
Borders was always much larger than us so we can’t say what financial overreach may have played a hand. But from our point of view, ambition in the service of reaching new readership was an advance well worth taking, and we can only hope that henceforth everyone affiliated with the company will retain pride in knowing they were once part of an admirable endeavor.
If any stores are closing in your immediate community, please visit them soon on behalf of Casemate—not for us at all, but for our longtime companions in the publishing world.