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If you’re a reader, a writer, a reviewer or just a book junkie, you’ve probably heard the news about Borders – after closing a few dozen stores this winter in a desperate effort to stay afloat, the company has filed for bankruptcy and is liquidating its 399 remaining stores. Sadly, this includes the two-story behemoth in Boston’s Downtown Crossing area – easily one of the company’s biggest stores, and the only one close enough (since they closed the Copley Square store) for me to browse on my lunch break.

As much as I love my indies – the Brattle, the Booksmith, the Concord Bookshop, the Harvard Book Store and any other indie I happen upon – I’m still sad to see Borders go. For one thing, as so many folks have said, fewer bookstores always means bad news for the book industry – fewer outlets for books to reach readers. (This is, of course, particularly bad news for little-known authors.) For another, many towns will now be bereft of their only physical bookstores, which simply breaks my heart. I grew up in a town whose only bookstore is Barnes & Noble, and went to college in a town with only Books-a-Million – and I would grieve if either of my hometowns were left completely without a bookstore.

Perhaps most importantly, I have good memories of time spent and books purchased at Borders stores – which were there for me when I needed a bookstore in several different states and even across the ocean. I used to stop in at Borders in Oxford on my way home from the grocery store (it was open later than Blackwells or Oxfam), and browse the 3-for-2 tables or the new bestseller lists or the plentiful magazine selection. I still have the copies of Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating and Shannon Hale’s Book of a Thousand Days (the gorgeous UK edition, of course) bought there. Sometimes I’d meet a friend at the little Starbucks in the back, and we’d sit at a round table and drink chai lattes to ward off the misty chill outside.

When I spent a month interning in Honolulu one summer, Borders provided me with good beach reading and a quiet, bookish escape when I needed some solo time. I’d grab the keys to the church van (known affectionately as the “blue whale”), back out of the driveway and head to Volcano Joe’s for a chai latte or a smoothie, or to Borders to grab a new book. My copy of The Second Summer of the Sisterhood (Traveling Pants #2) from that summer still has sand in it, I think.

And finally, I’ve enjoyed browsing the Borders in Downtown Crossing once in a while since we moved to Boston a year ago. I loved its solid, steady presence overlooking a bustling square, which contains the Irish Famine Memorial, the Old South Meeting House, and plenty of street musicians, pigeons, businesspeople and tourists. The area will be poorer without it, and I’ll no longer have a place to pick up a new book if I decide I just have to have it today (as I did a couple of months ago with The Penderwicks on Gardam Street).

I’ve been to the closing sale once or twice – but the chaos, with Caution tape everywhere, just makes me sad. (And so far, the discounts aren’t enticing enough to make me buy books there instead of at my other favorite bookish places.) I hope the store doesn’t stand empty long – but I wish it weren’t closing at all.

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