I was saddened to see Borders in Birmingham this weekend selling off everything including store fittings. Borders has been my favorite book store for a while, especially their out-of-town stores on retail parks. I preferred the style of their stores to those of Waterstones. It also removes one of the more interesting options for ebook readers (as an alternative to the UK dominant Sony devices and the recently arrived international version of Amazon’s Kindle).We were in Birmingham to see Avatar in 3d at an IMAX cinema but arrived early to make sure we were not delayed too much by bad weather and Christmas shopping. As it turned out, we need not have worried, others turned up much later without problems. However,it did mean we had time to go the Yo Sushi in Selfridges and also to do a little bit of shopping [not too much, as my wife and I were accompanied by my elder daughter, now 18, who really does not like shopping]. It was so cold we stayed in the Bull Ring shopping centre as much as possible. Book shops are a favorite haunt of mine, have been from childhood, although I do tend to buy most of my social reading (novels, biographies, etc, rather than technical/academic books) in electronic form these days, I still enjoy browsing a store and having a coffee once I have selected a few books. That said, now that I am so used to be able to search for books that match exacting criteria to suit my mood, I do get overwhelmed somewhat in a book store by having to look the old fashioned way. The idea of a book shop having to close though was disturbing to me. Just feels wrong. I felt the same when my home town lost its book shops a few years ago (thankfully, new book stores opened a year or so later).