May 01, 2007

Origin of the Bookstore, Part the Seventh - 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Borderlands Books

For the next six months we'll be doing a special feature each month in honor of Borderlands' upcoming 10th Anniversary (November 3rd, 2007). We'll share some stories about what Borderlands is and how it got that way.

by Jude Feldman

The origin of the store piece this month is shorter than usual, because I've been so terribly busy building ornate little castles with my writer's blocks!

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Borderlands Books:

1. Borderlands has a dress code, and it consists of a single rule.  You can email if you want to know what the rule is.

2. The combined age of all six Borderlands employees is 226, and between us we have approximately 43 years of book selling experience, 21 piercings and 14 tattoos.

3. The Borderlands staff includes people who have been: a nightclub DJ, a go-go dancer, a bike messenger, a high school teacher, an accountant, a beef-jerky salesperson, a microelectronics assembly engineer, an Emergency Medical Technician, a Dead-Head, a floppy-disk assembly line operator, an Information Technology professional, a stage manager, voice-over/television/movie actors (2), and hotel maids (2).

4. There are currently 1,177 books in the store that cost $1.75 or less.

5. Ripley has been filmed for 2 documentaries, 1 independent film and a cable-access show.

6. The store backs up to the Mission Playground, and an average of once a day someone on the staff has to toss a soccer ball back over the 18 foot high fence.

7. More than half the staff have been homeless at some point in their lives, and more than half the staff have worked at higher-education institutions.

8. In three years, Borderlands has donated over 4000 books to the guests at Martin de Poores House of Hospitality, a free restaurant that serves meals to those in need.  You can find out more about the good work that Martin's is doing here: <>.

9. Borderlands does an average of 50 in-store author events a year.

10. We have had author and/or artist guests in the store who: accidentally broke chairs, smoked marijuana before their readings, left what they were going to read at home and had to improvise, praised the store for "not having s**t all over it," incorporated employees into their novels or artwork, drew Ripley with Ren and Stimpy, and had such a good time they promised they'd be back "until forcibly prevented".

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