Borders Customers Lament Closing of Landmark Boston Store

With the store scheduled to close soon, customers said they would turn to e-readers, Amazon and nearby bookstores.

As the Borders in Downtown Crossing prepares to close, along with almost 400 other locations across the country, long-time customers regretted the coming loss of a bookstore, hub of social life and city landmark.  

The bookseller is seeking to start closing down its stores, which include 15 in Massachusetts, as soon as Friday, according to a report by The Boston Globe.  The Back Bay Borders, on Boylston Street, closed this spring after offering deep discounts on the store’s books, bookshelves and tables.

The Downtown Crossing store hasn’t yet advertised any going-out-of-business sales or posted notice of the forthcoming closure on its website. Still, long-time shoppers interviewed Tuesday afternoon knew the store’s fate.

Mark McNally, who works in the nearby Old City Hall building, has shopped and whiled away lunch hours in the store for some 20 years. Drinking a coffee within view of the store, McNally, 40, regretted its expected shuttering. 

“It’s certainly sad,” he said. “It’s definitely a place where people congregate. I’ll bet it’ll be tough on people who play board games in the mezzanine café. I think that’s the home away from home for a lot of people.”

After the store closes, he said he would rely on his e-reader, a reading device for electronic books, or go to the Barnes and Noble on Boylston Street, near Emerson College.

Sitting on a bench in the park that faces the towering storefront, Medford High School Spanish teacher Michael Skorker reflected on being a customer of the store for more than a decade.

“It’s such a shame that they’re going to do that,” he said. “It’s like a landmark.”

Skorker, 28, said he lingers in the mystery and reference sections searching for books to use in his classroom-or just wander the aisles for inspiration.

“Often times I go into the store to get ideas or suggestions for friends going through tough times,” he said.

How will he buy books once the store closes? 

“I really don’t know,” he said. “It’s sad to say, but I would go to Amazon.com”

Still, Skorker said he wouldn’t turn to an e-reader.

“I like the feel of the page,” he said.

Leaning against the park’s iron fence, Heidi Lopez, 18, said the news of the coming closure surprised and saddened her, given that it’s the center of many local teenagers’ social lives. As a student at Chelsea High School, Lopez and her friends would hang out at the bookstore when they came into downtown Boston. She wondered where local teens would go after the store liquidates.  

“It kind of sucks that everything is online,” she said. “It doesn’t give teens a chance to go out.”  


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