The decline was evident, but it didn't prevent the knot in my stomach when I opened my e-mail and read the obituary.
When visiting the last few times before the announcement, the atmosphere was somber and the shelves looked sparse, but who would have thought it would be this climatic?
The letter stated there was a valiant fight but went on to say, "As I'm sure you've heard by now Borders (bookstores) will be closing its doors after more than 40 yeas of igniting the love of reading in generations of customers. ... The fact is that Borders has been facing headwinds for quite some time, including a rapidly changing book industry ..."
Being a lover of book stores, especially Borders (and I will explain that later), somehow, I felt the letter was personally sent to me.
No matter what kind of a mood I'm in, when I walk into a book store, I feel the embrace of warm arms reaching around me as I wander the aisles of another world looking at hundreds of stories over which authors have painfully labored that are just waiting to jump off the shelves to be read.
At one time, I even dreamed of having a bookstore and pictured it like the cozy "shop around the corner" -- that Meg Ryan owned in the movie "You've Got Mail," or even the one in "Notting Hill" where Julie Roberts wandered in and ignited a romance with Hugh Grant.
One time in the many phases of my life, I even placed a deposit on a charming little Victorian house and planned to fill it with books.
However, my brother, whom I lovingly call the cynic, advised me that I would be so busy curled in a corner reading latest editions that the business would fall along the wayside.
Whether the advice was cynicism or reality, I listened and gave up the grand idea of being an entrepreneur and kissed the deposit goodbye.
I'm sure he gave that advice since my family always reminded me that I could be cheaply entertained for hours on end by just turning me loose in a bookstore.
Now back to being partial to Borders. I frequently visited the very first Borders Bookstore in the country that was located on State Street in Ann Arbor, Mich. Two University of Michigan students opened the store in an old warehouse. I watched it grow as the business skyrocketed.
The mother store was a book lover's dream with numerous aisles of classics, new releases, history and biographies. Name it, and it was there. They were one of the first to add couches on which to lounge while reading and drinking lattes'.
That first Borders venture became the second largest book-selling chain in the country with 399 stores employing 19,000 people. Who would have thought it would be closing its doors?
One of the reasons for its demise is technology. Readers would rather hold a cold, plastic gadget with words flashed on a screen than to caress ink-filled pages smelling of new print and paper. Once read with e-readers, there are no colorful book covers tucked on shelves reminding of hours whisked away from present reality.
As long as they're for sale, I will continue to caress a book held in my hand that can later join others scattered around our house in the bookcase, on the coffee table or on the floor beside my bed.
They surround me like friends that have given me hours of enjoyment taking me to the world of historical eras, romantic encounters, and suspenseful dramas.