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A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Friday, September 16, 2011

the mournful dirge

Wrote this email to someone I know who worked at a Florida Borders...

Sorry didn't return your call, at a weekend long wedding with two days in office and to catch up on sleep before heading to St. Louis for Bouchercon where I am now.

Very sad. My last Borders visit last Sunday to Middletown NY between the wedding and the town I grew up in. I really wanted to be the last customer St a Borders as I was at 1003, but no way for it to happen,  Four of the StL stores already closed, two were going to close on Thursday but one shut a day early and the other as I kind of expected said "we may close in 15 minutes, we may close in 45," and i couldn't hire a car to take me ten miles into Illinois, wait around for who knows how long and in the process blow off the stuff I and to do at the convention.

Even though there was nothing to be done about it, I will feel like a loved one passed away without me getting to the bedside.

Then I go to the downtown Left Bank Books, it has one non-Charlaine JABberwocky book on shelves, typically indie it isn't Way of Kings or Warded Man or some other book someone may want to read but an obscure book that will be selling 7 copies a week on Bookscan if that once the liquidations are over.  There is no other trade bookstore for some four miles, the closest with any selection, i.e., a big BN, is further away than that.  Walked by Subterranean Books, the other major StL indie last night after it had closed, looked in and realized it wouldn't be worth another special trip to that neighborhood to actually walk into the store because it would be depressingly similar to the Left Bank experience downtown.

And speaking of Barnes & Noble, I can barely bring myself to walk in to one any longer. I go in, the first thing I see are the Nook covers. The boring BN corporateness, their strangely curated selection where they have long had the poorer selection of books/authors of mine not being carried by both chains, their ugly octagons with books buried on a shelf eight inches up from the floor, all of these things I could happily endure when I knew there was something better somewhere and that the BN I was just passing through.

But I will have a job, you leave the Dolphin with an uncertain destination, and I hope there will be some better next step ahead.  For you, for the other people gutting it out to the end for the hourly paycheck, while the bankruptcy court OKs $125K bonuses for Mike and the gang.   

My stock certificate is being framed, I overpaid for the store directory from base of escalator at #582, and purchased for $15 a "borders is 150k books, magazines, CDs, videos" framed poster with a big B on it from #592.  Once upon a time it was what the poster said, in another day or two it will be a memory.  If you find your way to NYC someday, we will have a cold something or other and reflect in front of my shrine.

Will give a ring when I am back home, and in the meantime you know my thoughts and wishes are with you.

oh, the entire sf/ f section at the downtown Left Bank is 96-ish titles n

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