Books Without Borders

Ward 3 residents affected by the book giant’s decision to close D.C. locations

Piles of discounted periodicals littered the shelves, in no particular order. Red and yellow discount stickers were taped to everything from last years Christmas trinkets to hardback books that were usually $30. Customers flooded the aisles, some with towering stacks of books, waiting in longer than usual lines to stock up on last minute sales.

It was official. Borders was closing its doors.  After filing for bankruptcy in February, Borders decided to cease operations at 226 of their stores, two of which were their remaining D.C. locations.  

Throughout the weeks the Borders in Friendship Heights has steadily been lowering the price on their books in preparation for liquidation; a move that had some local residents surprised.

“I didn’t even know they were closing until I saw the coffee sign,” said Marie Claire, a Ward 3 resident. ‘I didn’t even ask, because I didn’t want to know.” 

“I do shop here,” she said. “This is my preferred store. This is my escape. This is a great place to relax. It’s much more relaxing than Barnes & Noble.” 

Residents of Ward 3 are particularly affected since there are few bookstores in the area. Although there are two independent book stores in nearby Dupont Circle, the Friendship Heights store had a larger selection of books and was the most conveniently located, with a Metro station across the street.  

“I didn’t know they were closing!” said Kim Garner, 43, a secretary from Cleveland Park. “I used to come here a lot, but now I go to Dupont Circle,” Garner said.  

In fact, many residents have been traveling to other retailers, a sign some said say is indicative of Borders troubles. But Garner seems to think otherwise.  

“I don’t shop as much. I have a Kindle and a Sony. I like the feel of a book, but it takes up too much space,” Garner said.  

With customers, like Garner, flocking to Amazon and other online retailers to buy e-books, residents are worried that other book independent bookstores will close, even with their said legion of loyal followers.  “

There won’t be a bookstore around here, it’s a negative thing,” said Rob Downing, a lawyer and real estate developer.  

“Honestly, I don’t come here too often, but I do read a lot. I like e-books but I’d rather be in the store. I like to physically look at books,” Downing said.  

The book hub for Ward 3 residents will cause some difficulty when it comes to shopping, but customers who frequent the remaining Borders on 18th and L St. won’t be affected as much.  At least two book retailers are within a mile of the closing store.

For a better understanding of Borders former terrain in D.C. and their relation to their competitors, see the info-map below.