Borders liquidating after 40 years in business


Borders bookseller is going out of business. Image: kzamani/Flickr/CC BY-ND

The Borders Group, a 40-year-old book retailer giant, announced Monday that it has decided to close its remaining 399 stores for good. The retailer had been facing bankruptcy and was hoping that a buyer would step up before liquidation became necessary, but no savior arrived. Borders employed nearly 11,000 people nationwide.

Bankruptcy auction canceled

Borders canceled a bankruptcy-court auction that was set for today. On Thursday, Borders intends to request the court allow it to accept a sale to Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group liquidators.

‘We are saddened by this development’

Mike Edwards, president of the company, said:

“Following the best efforts of all parties, we are saddened by this development. The headwinds we have been facing for quite some time — including the rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution and turbulent economy — have brought us to where we are now.”

Began as a used bookstore

Borders began in 1971 as a used book store in Ann Arbor, Mich. It struggled along for years in a difficult economy and eventually grew to be the nation’s second largest chain of booksellers. In February, after finding tough competition from electronic books and discount outlets, Borders filed for bankruptcy. Since then it has limped along, finding it more and more difficult to get publishers to ship them books on credit terms.

Negotiations promising for a time

Things looked more hopeful earlier this year when private-equity investor Jahm Najafi was negotiating the purchase of the company for $215.1 million. But Borders’ largest unsecured creditors rejected the plan because it would have allowed Najafi the opportunity to liquidate without considering creditors.

Are books becoming a thing of the past?

The demise of Borders could herald the collapse of the book publishing industry as consumers increasingly turn to electronic media instead of to the printed page.

“It saddens me tremendously because it was a wonderful chain of bookstores that sold our books very well,” said Morgan Entrekin, president of Grove/Atlantic Publishers. “It’s part of the whole change that we’re dealing with, which is very confusing.”

Borders says the liquidation could begin as early as Friday and should be completed by the end of September.


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