I walked into South Station in Boston and noticed right away – Barbara’s Booksellers is gone. It wasn’t a surprise. A small store selling full priced books is clearly not a model for business success in 2013, but I was still sad. Like many fellow travellers, I enjoyed hanging out there while waiting for my train, and sometimes I’d buy a paperback just to “vote with my wallet. ” But I always wondered how they were surviving.
As I walked towards Downtown Crossing, I thought about two other stores that used to be in that part of Boston. Here they are today:
The Walgreens store used to be a huge Borders where I spent hours looking at new releases and flipping through magazines. Of course, Borders was one of the victims of Amazon and e-readers, so Walgreens stepped in. There will always be a need for Advil and shampoo!
The other picture is more depressing, but historically interesting. The building with the Chipotle sign opened its doors to sell books in 1828 and was the home to a succession of book retail and publishing businesses. Between 1982 and 2011, it was the site of the Globe Corner Bookstore, a store totally dedicated to selling maps and travel-related books. Now it is totally devoted to burritos, but at least the beautiful building is still standing…
I continued walking towards Fanueil Hall (where there used to be a Waterstones) and realized there wasn’t one place I could buy a copy of We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. I could just download it onto my Nook, but I kind of want to read it as a “real” book. My enthusiasm for Bulawayo’s book is based totally on this week’s glowing New York Times review by Michiko Kakutani. Here’s the link – and Happy Weekend!