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Will Fairfield Lose Its Bookstore?

Janice Dulberg has two reasons to worry after the news she heard Monday morning. Rumors abound that Borders will close about a third of its stores because of financial problems. That means Janice might have to find somewhere besides the Fairfield’s Post Road hotspot to buy her books. But she’s also concerned for her daughter, who works at a location in New York.

“I hate to see these places close,” Janice says. “It’s a real loss.” The Wall Street Journal reported that Borders plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, citing more than $550 million in debt and a plummeting stock price. Experts predict the chain would close 200 to 250 Borders and Waldenbooks stores, or about a third of its total. Fairfield’s Borders is one five locations in Fairfield County alone.

It is too soon to tell whether Fairfield’s store is one of those on the chopping block. But Janice hopes it isn’t. Outside of Borders and the children’s bookstore Dinosaurs Paw , Borders is the only brick-and-mortar bookstore in Fairfield. Should it shut down, Rainy Faye Bookstore in Bridgeport and the Barnes & Noble in Westport would be the closest options for adults, unless Borders keeps its locations in the Trumbull and Milford malls open.

Many cite the rise in e-book readers as the reason for Borders’ collapse. The chain has tried to combat this with e-reader displays and e-book kiosks in its stores. But unlike Amazon (with the Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (with the Nook), it does not have its own brand. Janice said she might convert if Borders closes. But others, such as Fairfield’s Ed Smith, are adamantly against the e-reader. “I actually like cover art, and dog-eared pages, and making notes in the margin,” Ed says.

But many customers at Fairfield’s Borders fear they could lose more than just a bookstore. One Fairfielder, Nancy, meets three friends there every week for a bridge game in the café. And Stratford’s James Elliott says he goes there for more than just a few books a month.

“I think it would be a tragedy for Fairfield if Borders shut down,” says James, who works in Fairfield. “It’s a congregating point — a place to meet up with friends, and get books and coffee.”

Do you think Fairfield’s Borders will close? How will you feel if it does? Share your opinions below.

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