I finally made a foray to the local Borders store. I checked it out during the first week of bankruptcy, when prices were an amazing 20% off list. I felt bad that they were charging more in liquidation than Amazon was charging in regular operations.
But I was next door, picking up some measuring spoons at Bed, Bath & Beyond, so I walked in. “ONLY 7 DAYS LEFT!” the posters warned. Inside, prices were 80% off, with an additional 15% if you bought 20 or more books. Of course, there was scarcely more than 20 books in the joint.
I looked through the remaining comics — sorry, Graphic Novels — but that had been pretty well pillaged. I considered picking up Sophie Crumb’s book, but eh.
The fiction section was pretty sparse; the offerings were mainly contemporary fiction, which I have no use for. I meandered over to the biographies, and it was there that I made my score. There were at least 8 copies of Jules Feiffer’s memoir, Backing Into Forward, on a shelf, so I grabbed a copy of that. I remember wanting to buy it for the Kindle when it was first released, but it was listing (and still is) at $15.99, and there’s no way on earth I’d pay that much for an e-book, unless it had the answers in the back.
Then I noticed a copy of Pierre Assouline’s Herge: The Man Who Created Tintin. It was a hardcover, as was the Feiffer book. I know nothing about it, but at this price (80% off $24.95), I couldn’t go wrong.
I also came across paperbacks of two of Mary Karr’s memoirs, Liar’s Club and Cherry. I’ve never read her, but I enjoyed her recent Paris Review interview, so I thought I’d give her a chance.
On the way to the register, I noticed a “new books” shelf with a copy of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Bed of Procrustes. I gave up on The Black Swan pretty early, on account of authorial arrogance, but one of my magazine’s readers recommended I pick up this book of aphorisms. I bought it for my Kindle this summer, but found that the aphoristic style didn’t work for an e-book; I found myself reading too quickly. I thought it would be better in printed format, so I could scribble notes in the margins and otherwise just look at a line on a page. So I grabbed that, too.
The damage for all five books, including three hardcovers? Twenty-two dollars. Poor, doomed bookstores.
I did have a laugh on the way out, when I noticed that one of the employees set up the shelf by the entry so that customers would see the following: