Coffee Shop Chronicles: Coffee, books and the end of an era

img_7200Borders Bookstore

Canton, MI

April 2011

I came here because I have a coupon.

The coupon is for 33% off one item or 20% off your entire purchase.  I’m upstairs sampling the vanilla bean loaf, and there’s this weird aftertaste.  The black tea is helping only so much.  I’m glad I have a peanut butter sandwich with me.  It’s not gourmet breakfast, but I do feel like a queen as I look over the café railing down upon the bookstore.

It’s 9 o’clock on a Saturday, and it’s a bustling morning.  I stood at the door as the store opened, and now I’m in my favorite seat here, a table along the railing.

I think, dream and wonder…why do I have only one coupon?  I want to walk out with the whole bookstore.  Right now, I want one particular book.  I’ll go tease myself and see if the paperback is out yet.  The vanilla loaf taste is still hanging on my tongue anyway.

Tongue.  Teeth.  Fangs.  Vampire fangs.  Vlad the vampire.

I’m into Young Adult books, but I don’t like hardbacks.  Hardbacks are heavy to carry and you can’t fold the covers back to make it comfortable in your hands.  I got sucked into this vampire series by…oh, I don’t recall how or who introduced me to it.  The first book was in paperback, I know that, and maybe the smiley vampire face on the cover caught my eye.  I’ve read eighth grade through eleventh grade, but Vlad’s senior year is still a mystery.  It hasn’t been a year yet–the standard time between hardback release and paperbacks–but a girl can hope and think, dream and wonder.

I walk instinctively to the right side of the store and look under “B” for Brewer.  My eyes jump from bookend to bookend, shelf by shelf.  Hardback–hardback–hardback–paperback.  There it is!  Paperback!  Tucked at the edge of the shelf, hidden in the shadows of overhead lights, is The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Twelfth Grade Kills.

I grab it and drop it on the floor.  I’m so excited I can’t even hold it!  I dash over to my husband who wanders the CD racks, of course.

“Oh, this trip was so worth it!” I say.  I have waited so long.  I smile, I gleam, I may even be glowing.

How many more times will I feel like this?

How many more times will I be this excited about a book series–so excited!–so excited for a paperback because it’s cheaper and lighter and more flexible than a hardback?  How many more times will I be able to walk into a bookstore, pick up a book made of paper and walk out with my treasure?

A purchase.

The glisten of a glossy cover.  The ruffle of pages flipping through them.  The smudgy fingerprints in margins from cheap ink.  The triumph of finding what you want.  To leave with the treasure.

There’s joy of being able to flip through a book for a sample; through the entire book, not just some random chapter.  In fact, by doing this now, I find another YA novel to buy.  That book is here but more expensive at $9.99.  I’ll wait for another coupon.

An actual purchase.  Even the smell.  I pull it up to my nose, to make sure.  There’s that musty, raw dusty smell.  Yes.  The delicious anticipation.  Page One awaits.

With the dying brick-n-mortar stores going the way of the Dodo, I will probably not have many more moments like this.

I walk by the shelves one more time to relive the glorious moment.  It’s the only paperback there.  Or it was.  It’s mine now.

Vlad is $8.99.  I use the coupon, but I would have bought it without one.

Even the receipt is a bookmark.



    • Sue Remisiewicz on December 18, 2016 at 6:44 pm
    • Reply

    After working all day on a computer, it’s more relaxing and enjoyable to read a paper book. I hope they never go away.

    • Kelly Bixby on December 8, 2016 at 12:01 am
    • Reply

    You, my friend, are a romantic. I’m with you, in love with physical books.

    1. Amen to that!

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