Instead of celebrating the departure of their big box competitor, local book sellers are mourning .
“Anytime a bookstore closes, large or small, it’s not a good thing,” said Maryann Calendrille, co-owner of in Sag Harbor. “We don’t want to see that happening.”
The retailer’s bankruptcy and subsequent liquidation aren’t a death knell for independent East End book shops, but the event casts a shadow over the industry at large, owners say.
All 399 Borders stores, including the location, are scheduled to close on a rolling basis that began on July 22 and concluding at the end of September. An inquiry for a specific date for the Riverhead was placed to Borders’ media relations hotline, but was not immediately returned.
Most of Calendrille’s customers only went to Borders if they were in Riverhead, running other errands, she said. If there’s a brief uptick in customers at her small shop, she said she was not sure if it would last.
“We’d rather see bookstores flourishing all over the country, and people having access in their community to learn about new voices in literature and ideas coming across,” she said.
Charline Spektor, who co-owns with her husband, Jeremy Nussbaum, is also not happy to see the mass retailer shuttered. She said her three-branch business only felt the competition from Borders when customers were looking to buy popular best-sellers, like James Patterson.
“Beyond that, if they need an idea for books, they’re coming to us,” Spektor said. “And, I hope they continue to come to us.”
BookHampton has locations in , and .
Spektor said shoppers might be slightly more inclined to shop at BookHampton now that Borders is closing.
Marc Clejan, a year-round East Hampton resident, said the only thing he would really miss about Borders was the café. “It was a nice feature.”
But, Clejan prefers the local shops for their convenience and more-knowledgeable staff. Borders and still-thriving Barnes & Noble overwhelmed him with too many options, like sitting down to a dinner with too much food.
“It ruins your appetite,” he said.
Calendrille sees Borders’ bankruptcy as a signal of a greater change in her industry: Certain books are becoming harder to buy, and the internet is “changing how we read,” she said.
“The publishing industry is under great economic pressure to produce very successful books,” she said, adding that otherwise valuable books are not coming to market because they might be more risky.