When I learned about this a few weeks ago, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, a book-industry behemoth that no doubt puts smaller bookstores with more variety and more character out of business is wobbling at the knees. Perhaps after Borders Aventura closes, the area will gain a few more small bookstores and the existing ones, like the Paperback Book Xchange (1659 NE 163rd St, N.M.B.) and its eminently reasonable and quirky operator, will see a boost in customers. On the other hand, the Barnes & Noble in Loehmann’s Plaza will likely absorb most of Borders’ customer base, assuring that corporate domination of the area’s book scene will remain mostly in tact.
So, in the end I’m sad to see Borders go. I’ve been a customer (and incorrigible freeloader) since the store opened in 1994, and I always preferred it to the Barnes & Noble, which with its stodgier atmosphere and brown-and-dollar-green color scheme never appealed to me as a comfortable place to read. At Borders, though, I got plenty of reading done over the years, most memorably the entire screenplay of Pulp Fiction in one sitting — a secret leafing, done in a cranny of the media section because Mom would not let her 10-year-old son watch the movie.
When I first found out Borders was closing, I approached the Miami Herald with the story but got no love. The Herald wrote about it earlier this week and touched on how the closure will affect the community.
The [closing] sale came as little consolation for Robert Gardiener, 30, of Hollywood, who had been a regular customer.
“It’s horrible,” he said. “We come here at least once a week for the cafe and to check out books and this totally is a bummer.”
Like a lot of the store’s customers, Gardiener is a Borders person — he prefers Borders over Barnes & Noble the way some people prefer Macs over PCs or vice-versa. He choses Borders over its competitor because he finds the store to be “less congested,” and because he had developed a good rapport with the employees.
I have a good friend who worked at Borders for the last few years, so I know the store has plenty of regulars, and among them plenty of kooks. They’re going to have to find a new place to hang out now, and I don’t expect they will all migrate to Barnes & Noble. As the ampersand suggests, the place is a bit too stuffy.