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Two weeks ago I received an email that the Borders store at Santana Row was one of 200 stores being closed as part of the bankruptcy deal and there would be a 20% to 40% clearance sale. (My buddy got an email for the Oakridge Mall store even though the Santana Row store was closer to him, probably because he spends more money there and I always find what I want at Santana Row.) The store on the first weekend was busy as people stood in line with hand baskets filled with books. Which begs the obvious question, where were they before the going out of business sale?
A week later the shelves were thoroughly disorganized and the carpet wasn’t vacuumed, reminding me of the used bookstore that was in downtown San Jose during the 1990s (except they had a really friendly cat who kept the mice away). When I went in today, the shelves were somewhat straightened up and the carpet vacuumed. I was surprised to see plenty of books still available. I shouldn’t have been. For a going out of business sale, Amazon was still much cheaper.
The current 25% to 50% off sale is somewhat misleading. Nearly all the books were 25% off and all the magazines were %50 off. Signs were posted for 30% off on the more expensive computer and science books. These are not great prices. I could take the 33% off coupon that I got via email to a Borders store that wasn’t closing to get a better price. I don’t think the books will start moving off the shelves until the discount drops to 50% off.
But there are bargains to be found in the bargain books department. Many of the books I picked up over the last two weeks were priced at $5.99 or less. With the 20% or 25% off discount, and another 10% off discount for being a Borders member, these low prices became much lower. When I went into the store today, the bargain books department was reduced to nothing but a few shelves.
Here are the books that I got so far:
- “A Most Wanted Man” by John le Carre
- “The Malloreon: Volume 2” by David Eddings
- “Duma Key” by Stephen King
- “By Schism Rent Asunder” by David Webber
- “The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in The Debt Crisis of 2010-2012” by Harry S. Dent, Jr.
- “The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities and the Modern World” by Steven Johnson
- “The Conscience of A Liberal” by Paul Krugman
The only non-bargain book that I picked up was “The Malloreon: Volume 2” by David Eddings. I had gotten the first volume a month ago and was planning to get the second volume before the store closing was announced. Eddings wrote fantasy with a large cast of characters and sweeping events that seems almost effortless in execution. This is something I want to emulate when revising my own first novel. I had read both the “The Belgariad” and “The Malloreon” (five books in each series) when they first came out when I was still a teenager. Having read the four omnibus volumes back-to-back since the beginning of the new year, I was overwhelmed with tears when I read the last lines: “And so, my children, the time has come to close the book. There will be other days and other stories, but this tale is finished.”
Once the Borders store closes at Santana Row, the heart of Santana Row will be gone. Barnes & Nobles will probably not put a store there since it is halfway between their stores at The Pruneyard and Steven Creek Boulevard. An independent bookstore couldn’t afford the rent for such a marquee location. I’m not sure what will end up going into that two-story location, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple relocated their Valley Fair Mall store from across the street. Besides the nearby movie theaters, there will be no reason to go to Santana Row. Bookstores are the great equalizer in society. Where else can you go after watching a movie and picking up a mocha at the coffee shop to browse the newest and greatest?