Wednesday, February 16, 2005


The Waldenbooks on Washington Blvd. next to the Marquette Inn is closing. I’ve never been much of a fan of Waldenbooks, which has always struck me as a C-minus/D-plus sort of book store—the Jack in the Box or Long John Silver’s of the book trade—but I hate to see any book store within walking distance of my office close, for any reason. It isn’t clear whether this store is being closed as part of a retail chain’s ongoing house cleaning (stores open, stores close), or whether it lost its lease, or what.

I rarely bought anything there. More often I would stop by just to look around. Early this afternoon, I saw a sign on the door that said that said that the store was closing. Oh, boy! A big closing sale! True to its mediocre nature, however, the sale was limited—remainder table items and a few other things, half price. I did pick up a not-too-old copy of DeLorme’s Illinois Atlas & Gazetter for about $10. This is an excellent, highly detailed series; I’ve had one of Michigan for some time, and used it when visiting that state. If each atlas didn’t cost about $20, I’d have dozens, maybe all 50.

The Waldenbooks brand, indecently, is owned by Borders. From my office, it’s about a 12-minute walk to a Borders, a hulking three-story facility on State Street. Both chains were briefly owned by Kmart in the mid-90s, but that didn’t take, apparently. I still harbor a vague grudge against Borders and its ilk (B&N) for killing off a worthwhile Chicago book chain, Kroch’s and Brentano’s, but I still buy things there, especially remainder table items.

There’s a smaller bookstore that I can walk to--from my office desk to the elevator to the lobby to the street to the front door of the store it's two minutes, if the elevator’s prompt. Stewart Brent Books, an independent. I could write a whole other blog about that store, but I will say that it has the best remainder table downtown.



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