Remembering the Borders bookstore in Novi, Michigan

Photo taken from dohaeng.com

Much like how I wrote about the CompUSA I frequently went to in the 90’s, I figured I should also write about the bookstore I went to for over 15 years, the Borders Books & Music in Novi, Michigan. From 1993 to it closing in 2011, it was the bookstore of choice for me. There was (and still is) a Barnes and Noble that was closer to me but I preferred shopping here due to the larger size and more variety.

Early memories of it involve me spending time in the children’s section of the store while my dad would look at computer books. I was absolutely into Star Wars as a kid and since this was the 90s and there were only three movies, the Star Wars books were how I could see more of the universe. I also occasionally checked out the strategy guides for video games while here, looking up any parts of games I was stuck on so I could go home and make progress. Another random memory were of the in-store music performances that would occasionally happen. One being of a woman doing scat singing in the center of the store with no backing music and my younger brother and I just being baffled by it.

Much like the CompUSA I mentioned earlier, it was located in the Novi Town Center shopping area, only a couple stores down from that. It outlasted that store by a couple years but it felt pretty obvious during that time that it wouldn’t be around forever. Much has been written about all the mistakes Borders made so I won’t go into those, but one of the signs for me was applying for a programming job at their corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor and then that posting eventually being canceled before I got to do an interview.

While it’s very unfortunate that there’s basically no photos of the store available online (I could have sworn there used to be some), there’s a few videos still up that show what the store looked like. This video of a car driving through the parking lot on the last day it was open shows the exterior, and there is a book signing with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth showing what a big chunk of the store looked like inside. There is also a video on the C-SPAN website of an author doing a reading inside the store in 1997, which doesn’t show that much of the store but is still a nice little 90’s time capsule.

There is actually a much better tribute to this specific store than this post, and that is on this blog here. It’s about how they essentially recreated that Borders in a room of their home. If I had known the store was selling off shelves and signs from the store when they were closing, maybe I would have picked a few things up. It’s an incredibly impressive job they’ve done with the room.

If you have any of the Novi, Michigan Borders, or the CompUSA and Egghead Software that were in the same shopping area, I would love to see them.