BEST BOOKSTORE (CHAIN) Minneapolis 2006 - Borders Books & Music
We want to reject Borders and its jack-of-all-trades, master-of-nothing MO. For one thing, Borders, like all of the big-biz bookstores, has become less and less bookish, steadily deemphasizing its stock-in-trade to make room for more cute diaries, MOR CDs, and Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs. The store's less commercial sections—philosophy, for instance—have generally suffered as a result of diversification, but Borders stores still have a much smarter selection than Barnes & Noble, especially in fiction. Naturally, their shelves are full of holes, but if you're curious about a book you saw reviewed in the Times, Borders probably has one in stock, and the chain tends to be fairly complete with major writers. The Uptown location is the best in the Twin Cities, excelling in gay and lesbian lit and rating above average in poetry (but all good things, apparently come to an end; in early April, there was news that the Uptown store will close soon). And of course there's plenty of the practical stuff: car guides, SAT prep volumes, cookbooks, and the like. The downtown location has a particularly roomy and well-stocked kids' area, equipped with a table and chairs and useful for killing an hour or two with the budding, snot-nosed bookworm in your life.