End of an Era: Borders is Closing All Stores and Liquidating

Posted on July 25, 2011

It's official: all Borders Bookstores are closing. The stores began liquidation last Friday. The CEO of Borders Mike Edwards sent out a sad email to customers which read, in part:

You might be asking yourself, what happened? How could it be that there won't be a Borders moving forward? In a nutshell, following continued negotiations and the best efforts from all parties, no bidders presented a formal proposal to keep our company operating as a going concern. Therefore, under the terms of our debtor-in-possession financing agreement, we presented to the court for approval the proposal for firms to purchase our stores' assets and administer the liquidation process.

We had worked very hard toward a different outcome. The fact is that Borders has been facing headwinds for quite some time, including a rapidly changing book industry, the eReader revolution, and a turbulent economy. We put up a great fight, but regrettably, in the end, we weren't able to overcome these external forces.

We visited our local Borders to see how the sale was going this past weekend, and business was brisk. The discounts aren't really that great so far: usually the discounts get deeper each week the sale goes on. This store was offering 10% off the original hardcover prices: that price can easily be beat at Amazon.com. There were, however, big sale bins with much deeper discounts. CDs are also being cleared out and the cafes are closed. It was pretty depressing, to tell the truth.

First the big chains came in and wiped out most of the independent bookstores. Then, the online retailers came in and wiped out one of the big chain stores. It's easy to see that the demise of paper books (not ebooks) will happen at some point in the future. Eventually all that will be left is a few specialty book stores that sell rare and unusual books.

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