With all this sadness in the news regarding the passing of Borders Books, I felt I had to say something.
There used to be an independent bookstore at Town & Country Shopping Center (20th St./Camelback).
I don’t recall the name, but the lady who ran it was very cool. I always tried to purchase the Maltese Falcon replica she had proudly on display. Turns out she had won it in a murder-mystery dinner theater event, so, she wasn’t selling.
Back in the mid-80’s, she was advised the mall was ending her lease, so they could put in a hotel on the site.
She sold everything she could (keeping the Falcon) and moved on.
Then the mall put in a much larger, chain bookstore!
Just North of Oak on 32nd St. was The Royal Bookstore. This was yet another independent bookstore. They catered to a male clientele. Books and magazines about cars, martial arts, electronics, computers, firearms, working with hand tools, hunting, fishing, politics, philosophy, science-fiction…you name it, they had it, geared toward men. They even had a small adult section.
The old man who owned it was from Belgium. He ran it with his son, who was an American citizen and had fought in Vietnam. He was a gun-guy, and when his father retired, pretty much ran the store, himself.
The best thing about Royal Bookstore was it was small enough, that the guy would remember you, and your interests. Just as a good retailer should.
I’d maybe not been in for two months, and I’d hit the door, and he’d say,”Hey Guffaw, good to see you. I just got in these three gun magazines and two books on investigation.”
He also (before they were bought out by the conglomerate and jacked up their prices) had early editions of Shotgun News delivered, usually a couple days before regular mail delivery! He even flew a Belgian flag outside the shop on the days he had Shotgun News in stock.
But he shut the store down in 2002. He told me he couldn’t keep up with the big chains and the growing Internet market. He simply couldn’t compete with Amazon.
And the neighborhood was in decline.
So, no tears from me regarding the passing of Borders.
When Amazon makes disposable Kindles and virtually all literature is E-friendly, then, there will be tears.
(Yes – I remember AMAZON is one of my advertisers!)