Borders has been in Ann Arbor since the ’70s. It’s a local business — it was piloted here, in case you’ve been living in a box. And even with plummeting profits and bankruptcy, the Liberty Street’s Borders has managed to keep some awesome programs running.

Borders makes a point of bringing in artists — both emerging and well-established — for free concerts. Last year, artists including Matt Nathanson visited, and American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle performed this February. This weekend Indigo Girls, an American folk rock duo, is in town, and last week saw Andrew Bird stop in for a short set. Borders also has frequent author readings. And though it might now be a chain, it maintains its indie-flavored presence in Ann Arbor as a local business just as Shaman Drum does.

What makes it the best bookstore in Ann Arbor? For one thing, it’s by far the largest. While it may not afford the cozy bookshop feel some bibliophiles yearn for, its proportions allow it to incorporate a expansive selection of books, a sizable music section and a quality coffee shop (complete with, of course, comfortable seating and study spaces).

The employees are great. Whatever section you might be looking in, they have a recommendation. Some are listed on the bookshelves as “staff picks,” but more than that, the staff actually knows what’s good — and they aren’t only familiar with headliners.

So although it might not be the place to go for all your textbook needs, if you ever want to browse or just pick up that book your roommate said was amazing, Borders is your place. Not only will it have that ridiculously awesome book, but you’ll probably encounter another couple great finds on your way out. Not great for the pocketbook, but perfect for the book lover.

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