Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bye Bye Borders

The Santa Barbara Borders is a ghost town already. I went in over the weekend to buy a magazine, the only thing that wasn't on sale. I rarely shop at Borders. It is too big and if I want a coffee I go to the French Press (ok, sometimes Starbucks too but shhh don't tell anyone) not Borders. I don't like how organized everything is, plastic and perfectly in rows. There is no magic at Borders. How am I going to trip over my new favorite book if all of the books are perfectly lined up on shelves?

I grew up going to Chaucer's and The Earthling. Silent pause for The Earthling, long departed bookstore that graced various State St. locations through out my childhood until Borders came to town. I still frequent Chaucer's regularly. Walking into Chaucer's, I feel as if I am walking into my own imagination. The tall and narrow aisles are like the deep chasms of my brain. I don't even know what is lurking in them half the time but just like waking up from a dream, I am pleasantly surprised by new discoveries each time I venture into the depths.

I always refer people to Chaucer's. Even if you have to drive a little further, it is worth it. And if you really want a coffee there are a couple of places right around the corner. Also, Via Maestro 42 has excellent Gelato if you have a sweet tooth.

I don't know what is going on with Borders but I don't think its good, for them at least. I've seen a couple of Borders south of Santa Barbara with the same "Store Closing Sale--This Location Only" signs. So obviously, its not that location only. My friend in Chicago mentioned that the Michigan Avenue Borders is closing too. I didn't ask her if those sale signs said this location only or not.

As a lover of books in general, I should support the art form in all its various facets but I just can't help it. Borders took out my beloved Earthling...and though we will never have it back, I am happy to see the shift back to small bookshops. I was in the Chaucer's parking lot at 9:30 am and already it was bustling. And then I read this Daily Sound article link on their Facebook page today. Chaucer's has been a tradition in Santa Barbara since 1974, longer than I have been alive and I am getting old! I couldn't be happier that it will become a new tradition for others, hopefully many others. Now, if only they would consider opening another location downtown...maybe close to the French Press.


  1. Sorry. Borders used to be a great place for book signings in Virginia.


  2. Hi Monti,

    is your Borders still there? I'm very curious because there doesn't seem to be a lot about it in the news but I keep hearing of them closing. I know it is a sad thing when any book store closes...its just a bit of a victory for the small mom and pop shops that have been part of our community for decades. Its not so much that I don't wish to see Borders succeed as it is that the smaller places seem to be making it even how hard it is for the big guys.
    Hope you are well and happy New Year!