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Borders Files Bankruptcy

This morning, Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy which is an attempt to discharge (get rid of) bad debt and reorganize itself into a profitable business. According to the report in Publishers’ Weekly, Borders will close around 30% of its stores. Borders has 642 stores and plans to close 200 of them. Borders’ bankruptcy will be meaningful to the publishers’ bottom lines in short term and the long term. In the short term, this means that the debt owed by Borders to the publishers will be represented as a loss:

The announcement made this morning was foreshadowed last night when it implemented an ordering freeze and Ingram, its lifeline to the publishers, stopped shipping books. Publishers are on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars led by Penguin Group (USA) which is owned $41.1 million, followed by Hachette at $36.9 million, Simon & Schuster at $33.8 million, Random House at $33.5 million, and HarperCollins at $25.8 million. Neither major book distributor, Ingram or Baker & Taylor were among the leading creditors, and only one book distributor, National Book Network, which is out $2 million.

All these publisher debts are unsecured which means that they will have lower priority with the bankruptcy court. Unsecured debt is debt that is not secured by an asset. In our lives, credit card debt is unsecured whereas a mortgage is secured (secured by the home). Ordinarily, a chapter 11 will result in a debtor being paid cents on the dollar owed. In the long term, the contraction of Borders will translate into smaller print runs (the number of books printed in one order in advance to the retail sale).

Another bankruptcy that will adversely affect the bottom line is the bankruptcy of Fenn in Canada. Fenn was Canada's largest book distributor. It’s largest unsecured creditor is Macmillan to whom Fenn owes $10 million and Harper Collins is owed $3.3 million.

There is no mention as to what will happen to Kobo. Maybe one of Borders’ most valuable assets is its minority share in Kobo. Borders has a 20% investment. My guess is that the plan for restructuring will include the Kobo business at its center. EBooks are on the rise while retail store book sales are declining. According to preliminary US Census Bureau data, bookstore retail sales fell 1.4% whereas general retailer sales rose 6.6%.

Based on Barnes & Noble’s success with the nook (as opposed to book retail sales), a book retailer without a digital plan probably doesn’t survive on a national scale.

Other investors in Kobo include Indigo; Instant Fame, a subsidiary of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. of Hong Kong; and REDgroup Retail of Australia. Kobo also announced it had raised $16 million CAD (about $15.1 U.S.) in financing from its investors. Indigo will retain approximately 58% ownership of Kobo. Source: News Release

Kobo put out a release to assure customers that their ebooks are safe and that it is unaffected by the Borders’ bankruptcy:

Will I lose access to ebooks I have purchased at
Your ebook library is perfectly safe. The Borders ebook experience is powered by Kobo, an entirely separate company from Borders. Kobo is financially secure and will continue to maintain your ebook library no matter what happens.


Nothing. Kobo is an independent, financially secure company that provides a Global eReading Service. Today will be another day filled with books being downloaded every second by Kobo users in over 100 countries.

The list of 200 stores to be closed have not yet been announced. Wall Street Journal has posted a sortable list of the 200 store closings. I’m curious which of our readers shop at Borders and may be affected by the closures.

I shop at a local Borders

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Danielle D
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 09:03:53

    This is so sad. Even though I have two readers I still go to Borders to buy books by authors who I love and I their books are keepers for me.

  2. Erika
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 09:08:38

    This is sad. I prefer Borders to B&N. That being said, I purchased a Kindle this year for two major reasons:

    1. Space. I read a lot. You should see my TBR.

    2. Pricing. I’m not a fan of Trade paperbacks, which seem to be increasingly replacing MMPs. I’m much more likely now to choose a lower priced (non agency) e-book than I am a paper copy, just because of finances.

    Alternately, I shop at used book stores or swap online for older books.

    So, while I mourn the closing of brick and mortar stores, I can’t afford to drop the kind of money at them I once did. :(

  3. Chicklet
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 09:22:36

    When Borders had a store in downtown Minneapolis, I was there 2-3 times a week, and I usually bought something. They closed that store about two years ago, and the only other Borders within Minneapolis or St. Paul takes me 30 minutes to reach on the bus. (All of the other area Borders are in the suburbs.) Ever since then, I’ve done most of my book shopping at B&N, because their downtown Minneapolis store remains open.

  4. Jessica
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 09:38:47

    I’ve mentioned this a number of times on Twitter and my own blog, so, sorry to be a broken record, but the Borders in Bangor Maine is the only large retail book store in this area, which serves 2/3 of the state of Maine and is filled with Canadian shoppers driving down each weekend.

    I purchase most of my romances from Amazon, and read them on my Kindle, but as a family we frequently shop at Borders for children’s books, cookbooks, travel guides and hardcover fiction.

    Of course, we have Walmart and Target, and a couple of discount retailers, and I can always drive an hour to the Barnes and Noble in Augusta (!), but should our local Borders close, the experience of shopping in a large, comprehensive bookstore with a cafe, great personalized service, room the spread out and read, and the chance to run into neighbors and friends will be lost.

    In this economy, I am also sorry for the individuals who will be looking for work when the stores close.

  5. Joy
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 09:39:37

    I shop at Borders because they have the nearest big box bookstore–actually the nearest bookstore, period–to my house. Fortunately I heard rumors of impending bankruptcy and used up my remaining Borders gift card last week. I’ll be sad if they close that store, which puts the nearest bookstore (a B&N) a 20 minute drive away.

    However, I have a nook so my digital shopping goes mostly to B&N.

  6. Keishon
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 09:46:25

    Naturally, I feel bad for those folks adversely affected by the closing of Borders. This economy is bad and this is a really fragile time for many businesses. The fact is that I live in the fourth largest city and I could drive pass at least three B&N stores before I hit a Borders store. I’ve visited them maybe once or twice in my life.

  7. JennK
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 10:04:44

    I buy most of my romances on Amazon, and lately on the Kindle I got for the holidays. But I still go to the Borders in town for study guides and other materials for my teens, and they buy most of their books there because they like being able to browse. It’s going to be tougher for the teachers to “advise” kids to come to class the next day, or even week, with a personal copy of a book for lit or a study guide for an AP course if the students are going to have to get their parents to travel for it.

  8. Christine M.
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 10:19:32

    I’ve bought from their website (which seems more user-friendly than B&N to me and the shipping fees to Canada were way easier on the wallet) before and I had great service.

    Also the news about Fenn? That’ll hurt; although, when I worked at an independent bookstore, Fenn definitely wasn’t our main distributor. I don’t know how it’ll impact Indigo/Chapters though.

  9. Collette
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 10:21:05

    They’ve already closed the large Borders on Michigan Avenue (prime tourist area) in Chicago and they are currently closing the one in my Hyde Park (University of Chicago) neighborhood. While I do have lots of bookstores in my neighborhood, both new and used, NONE of them besides Borders carry romance. None.

  10. Jane
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 10:24:43

    @Collette I guess a question I should have asked in the post is what will those affected by the store closing do? What will you do?

  11. Brian
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 10:28:35

    Here’s a sortable chart of the stores being closed…

  12. CupK8
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 10:35:44

    I am greatly affected by the closing of my local Borders. It was THE store I went to when I wanted a book in my hand that day. I have a used bookstore in my town, but it doesn’t carry romance. The Barnes & Noble is in the next town and doesn’t have the advantage of a free rewards program. Many of the books I use for my classes are not readily available in most bookstores anyway. I primarily purchased romance, and often took advantage of coupons.

    What will I do? I’ll spend money at my Borders until it closes, and then I’ll go check out the stock at the B&N.. but I won’t be able to just ‘swing by’ on my way the grocery store any more. So I guess I will be purchasing even more via Amazon. Sadness..

    I really think a local bookstore that specializes in popular fiction would do really well, especially if the Borders is gone. This is a college town, for chrissakes…

  13. S.L. Armstrong
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 10:36:17

    I’ve looked through the store closing lists. In my tri-city area, I know of five Borders bookstores. Four of them are slated for closing. The one that isn’t? Is in a prime area where it’s been for 20 or so years, right next door to a Barnes & Noble. I used to shop Barnes & Noble, but then they downsized the store and carried almost nothing that I read, so I shopped at Borders. Borders became too expensive, though, since they charge cover price and I could get my reading material cheaper (as well as a broader selection) through

    The closing of Borders stores around me, their bankruptcy, doesn’t impact my shopping habits. I haven’t stepped foot in a Borders in about two years. Maybe three. I have a Kindle and do my print book buying either through Amazon or on eBay (I like second-hand books quite a lot).

    I feel for the workers directly affected, which includes the authors contracted (or potentially contracted) with the publishers who are owed so much money.

  14. Lisa W.
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 10:40:27

    It’s definitely a sad day for book lovers and Borders employees. I love to shop at Borders. I actually drive almost 1 hour to get to the one closest to me (in Frederick, MD). Since I drive so far, I usually spend a long time there, browsing the shelves and sitting in the cafe reading and drinking coffee. Lucky for me, it’s not on the list of stores closing (yet).

    There’s a B&N right across the street from Borders, but I don’t like to shop there – you have to deal with the mall crowd and I’ve always thought that B&N was kinda snooty and pretentious.

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  16. Angela
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 10:52:41

    I am so saddened by this. I prefer Borders to Barnes and Noble – always have – and these are pretty much the only two bookstores left in my area. There aren’t even any independent bookstores around.

    I was expecting, when I first heard of the possibility of this happening, for a bookstore near me to be closed – there’s two in Madison, WI right now. Surprisingly though, they closed the one I wasn’t expecting.

    The one nearest to me will still be open, so it won’t affect me too much in that sense.

    Though I do have a Kindle, which I love and buy for frequently, I stil go to the local Borders to browse books and frequently walk out with purchases. I can’t help it. I love bookstores. I don’t want to see bookstores disappear so I guess I’ve made it a point to continue to purchase from them.

    Though I’ll be honest and say if there was an independent around me (and that sold what I read, romance, fantasy/sf) I’d ditch Borders for the most part too.

  17. Jennie M.
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 10:54:51

    We only have Borders in my country. There’s only 2 stores here, and they’re closing the one near me (about 40 minutes away). This is sad because they’re the only bookstores we have around. The rest are just for academic books. I guess it’s time for me to move on to Amazon and my e-reader.

  18. JenM
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 11:02:24

    I haven’t shopped at Borders in years, first because B&N was more convenient for me, second because in the last few years I’ve converted almost entirely to ebooks. Still, this is a sad day for book buyers. When I was a kid, I practically lived at the Waldenbooks in the mall near our house. I find it sad that kids growing up today won’t have that easy browsing experience. Browsing on line just isn’t the same. I know I found lots of authors by just scanning the shelves that I never would have otherwise stumbled across.

  19. Kristal
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 11:07:21

    They are closing two of the three stores in my state. Naturally, this is the year I finally caved and bought Borders Plus.

    I have preferred Borders stores to B & N because the staff are nicer, they are much faster at getting new books onto the floor, and are always happy to look in the stock room.

    Very sad.

  20. bettie
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 11:25:07

    My 2 local Borders (one 5 miles west of my house, the other 5 miles east)are on the closure list. Living in a big city, this is not really a problem for me, as there is a gigantic new B&N two blocks past the western Borders, and another B&N and a fantastic large independent bookseller within a mile of the eastern Borders, not to mention the 3 used bookstores in the same six mile radius…

    So as much as I occasionally enjoyed afternoons spent browsing and buying at Borders, the closures will not affect me in the way that closure of the above-mentioned Maine Borders would hurt its community.

    What worries me is that both Borders stores are 40,000 square-foot big box stores. The closure to the west of me will result in two solid blocks of empty big box stores in a once bustling area. Already that space is drawing graffiti, dirt and blight. The closure to the east will leave an historic building without tenants on a street where more than 10% of the retail space is empty, including two other big box stores.

    When big box stores move out, there is often nothing of comparable size to take their place, leaving communities with sometimes blocks-long vacancies to tend year after empty year. So while I, personally, won’t miss shopping at Borders, its absence will be felt in the community for years to come.

  21. becca
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 11:28:03

    I work at a Borders that escaped the first-wave of closings, so I do a lot of my shopping there. I also have shopped at another Borders that’s near my kids’ school, and that one is closing. I’ll miss it. We have a B&N that’s between me and the Borders where I work that I’ve been in a couple of times, but the experience has been so unpleasant that I avoid them. I’ll shop on line rather than go there again.

    If my store closes, it’ll be Amazon all the way for me.

  22. SandyO
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 11:28:26

    I’m old fashioned, haven’t given in to the readers yet, so I am dependent on the brick bookstores. I buy mostly at a local independent bookstore, but for romances or good discount on the few hardbacks I buy, it’s definitely Borders. Thank the Book Gods, that my local one is not slated to be closed.

  23. Val
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 11:47:26

    According to the list Brian linked to above it looks like ALL of the Borders in the Phoenix area are closing. Which is sad because that’s my preferred brick & mortar store since the used/indie one tends to not have sales, coupons, etc. nor a lot of stock of romance. We still have B&N but I only shop there when I get gift cards because they often don’t have what I want. I hate Amazon so I guess I’ll have to start frequenting that indie store and having them order for me. I’m mostly an ebook person these days but nothing beats paper for things like book clubs, gorgeous covers, trading with friends, etc.

    In short, *le sigh*. This stinks.

  24. may
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 11:48:02

    Our Borders is not on the list to be closed… but since it’s resembled a warehouse clearing out old stock (all shelves have been stocked with best sellers… from 3mo – 3yrs ago!) I’ve not been in much this year and have had to resort to for my romance purchasing when Target doesn’t stock what I want.

    I am an old school girl. I read print exclusively, no ereader for me. So I rely HEAVILY on Borders and always appreciated how they always had ALL the new romance releases. I discovered a LOT of authors browsing the isles – some are now my favorites! Now? Well if I’m resorting to on-line only ordering (since Target gets such a small % of books released) it means I’m going to miss out, and those authors will miss out on my $ as well. :(

    Big sad.

  25. Isobel Carr
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 11:51:32

    When there was a Borders near my office, I went there all the time on my lunch break and shopped (multiple times a week). They closed that shop, and lost me as a customer. I buy everything from Amazon now.

    I'm wondering how this CH 11 thing is going to go down with publishers. Are the publishers even going to be willing to supply Borders in the future? I imagine they'll want some kind of payment guarantee after being screwed out of millions of dollars when they too are in the process of tightening their belts. And what happens to the authors? Are those sales going to be wiped out? This could have serious ripples for a lot of people.

  26. library addict
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 11:53:41

    I'm very sad about Borders. I use them almost exclusively for my print books, but have been shopping more at rather than the “local” store because it's in the next town over, and not easy for me to just run over like when I lived in Las Vegas and had multiple locations to chose from. My Borders store is on the list of closures, meaning the only actual bookstore we will have that sells new books in the B&N at the mall and their romance selection is pitiful.

    I hope Borders succeeds in their restructuring. And not only because I have about $50 worth of books I pre-ordered with gift cards. I like Borders. They’ve always been very romance reader friendly.

    I have a Sony 650 and have been buying eBooks from Borders as well. But not exclusively, as I also have bought from All Romance eBooks, Sony, and Kobo as well as direct from publishers like Carina and Samhain.

    Even though we were told this was coming, I still haz a sad :(

  27. Debra
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 12:00:19

    I love my Borders and this is a sad day for them. If I am reading the list right mine is not on it. I have aB&N closer to me I just don’t like that store. I will still keep shopping at Borders untill I no longer have a choice.

  28. Jen X
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 12:00:50

    I HEART my local Borders. It’s not on the cut list, thank God! Borders is very romance friendly and I have never had an issue. I find every title I am looking for. They also have great weekly coupons and a nice atmosphere to relax and browse.

    I will not go to Barnes & Noble. Too expensive! I’ll resort to Target or Amazon if I have no choice.

  29. Debra
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 12:06:01

    Dumb question in looking at the list is it the stores in highlighted in blue that they are closeing???

  30. Courtney Milan
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 12:14:47

    I found many wonderful authors in the Borders on Lake in Pasadena, which is slated for closure. I bought my first Elizabeth Hoyt there. I discovered Edith Layton because whoever was stocking that store made sure to keep an extensive backlist for her. I found my first Jane Feather there. I started writing romance while I was shopping out of that Borders, too, and so that was the first time I went to the shelves and picked up books and made myself think, “What makes this work? Why is it so awesome?”

    I remember the romance section very fondly, and now I has a big sad.

  31. Hot Like Sauce
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 12:26:23

    I used to be a big borders shopper when they had the older rewards program in which you got Holiday spending bucks. Even though I don’t shop much at Borders any longer, I’m sad to see so many stores close.

    One of the best parts of Borders is the romance section because they print up a list of the romances released that month. I wish other stores did that too.

  32. Danielle D
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 12:38:42

    I just checked the list and my Borders isn’t closing.

  33. Ridley
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 12:42:41

    Never did like Borders anyways. The last chain bookstore I liked was Waterstones, and they closed their Boston location eons ago.

    Neither B&N nor Borders have any personality or ambiance, and they aren’t local retailers, so why should I mourn their passing? They’re as soulless as Amazon and half as convenient.

  34. Roxie
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 12:52:51

    Looks like they’re closing my local Borders. :(

    Our local B&N has a bad habit of not shelving new releases until the next day – as a result I started shopping at Borders. Looks like I’ll have to break down and head back to B&N when I have to buy print.

  35. Chicklet
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 13:05:46

    @Ridley: I think the 6000 people losing their jobs may mourn the passing of Borders.

  36. AmandA
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 13:08:26

    Why are all my borders closing?! I thoughy they got enough tragfic to stay open. Guess I have to switch to b&n.

  37. Joanne
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 13:15:46

    @Isobel Carr: This is what I’m wondering about, too. What’s the point of saving some of their stores if the publishers won’t ship to Borders?

    Are they just going to be a discount warehouse for their already in stock and/or older books? As a romance reader I want the newest releases.

    I’m always so sorry for the employees in these situations.

  38. Jayne
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 13:15:48

    The 5 locations being closed in my state are all near me. But then I haven’t shopped there since they closed down my beloved Waldenbooks store that I hearted madly. That store used to have the best romance section – something I discovered years ago after a wasted trip out to the nearest B&N looking for “Romancing Mr. Bridgerton.”

  39. Isobel Carr
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 13:21:22

    @Ridley: Well, a great many readers will be left with nowhere to shop, or only with mass merchandisers who stock a very small selection. This seems worth mourning to me.

  40. Debra
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 13:23:21

    Just went over to Borders and read their notice and list and all of the Borders close to me are closing, although they do say they have the right to change the list. So hopefully one of mine will survive. It also says most of the stores will be closed by the end of April 2011.

    Looks like I need to make of list of books I want before the stores go.

  41. Kim in Hawaii
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 13:27:00

    I see from the list that Borders is closing its stores in Lihue (Kauai) adn Kailua-Kona (the Big Island). These closings hurt the locals who already live in some isolation. Kauai has a Walmart – I don’t know about the Big Island.

    Looks like Borders is keeping open its 4 stores and 2 expresses on Oahu – they serve both the locals and tourists. Then again, we also 2 B/N, 2 Walmarts, 1 Target and 5 military exchanges to serve the population of 900K on Oahu.

    I have always enjoyed my shopping experience in Borders. Plus they tend to host more romance author book signings than other store in the areas I have lived (Tampa and Baltimore).

  42. atypicalromance
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 13:35:06

    This is sad news.

    I freelance as an editor and translation rewriter in the anime and manga field. I’ve always shopped at and supported Borders because they stock yaoi manga and novels, which are for readers age 18+. Barnes and Noble doesn’t stock yaoi at all, with the exception of some of the milder stories like Tokyopop’s Fake and Gravitation.

    I’ll continue to support Borders, and hope they can make it through this difficult period.

  43. Diane V
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 13:36:40

    Luckily the 2 Borders closest to me are not closing. Hopefully, the JD Robb and Patricia Briggs books that I pre-ordered on will ship as planned.

  44. Sarabeth
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 13:51:37

    This will push me to finally buy an e-reader. The independent bookstore around the corner from my house doesn’t carry romances, which is the lion share of what I read. So, off to a dedicated e-reader it is for me.

  45. Sharon
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 13:57:43

    Looks like the other two San Francisco Borders will be closing. SOMA Borders closed last year.

    There is one B&N over between North Beach and the Marina, but I’m not crazy about it, although it’s big and clean and has good romance and mystery sections.

    That Borders would eventually declare bankruptcy has been in the air for quite some time now so this isn’t much of a surprise. I find myself wondering what it means big-picture. Is B&N next? Is this bad for indies, good for indies, or are indies another issue complete with their own set of problems?

    I prefer small bookstores myself, but it seems they’re as much a victim to Amazon as the box stores are. A few here and there seem to have managed to compete on Amazon’s level while keeping that indy feel (Anderson’s in Naperville, IL comes to mind), but gone for the most part are the small bookstores staffed with knowledgable and passionate salespeople.

    I don’t like Amazon in general and I don’t like ordering books online. I like browsing books, getting recommendations from real live people, I like the feel and the smell of traditional books.

    Sad times all around for everyone involved.

  46. Gretchen Galway
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 14:02:19

    Funny how all the indie bookstores want to stay in business but won’t carry a decent (or any) romance section.

    The “beloved” independent neighborhood bookstore in my town has such a meager romance section I feel insulted every time I walk inside. I love Georgette Heyer too, but I don’t think she’s deserves 50% of the limited shelf space.

    If I wanted a new paperback romance, I drove 15 miles to a Border’s (which is staying open, according to the current list.)

  47. JoannaV
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 14:05:19

    @Brian: Thank you Brian for posting the closings list. I was very surprised to see that the closest store to me is not on it – it is obviously not as well stocked or well run as the store which is farther away. However, I also know that this is probably not the end of the cuts and closings.

    I will definitely miss Borders, they have always had a really good romance and SF/F section with lots of new releases and so many other bookstores around us have closed it will leave a hole. I do love to browse in bookstores to find something unexpected!

  48. Silver James
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 14:10:47

    The Borders nearest me is closing. The B&N is a couple of miles further away. (Neither of them are particularly close.) While I do a lot of shopping at Amazon for my Kindle, I used Borders for hard copies of books I wanted to keep in my library. Like someone up above said, I hope the hard copies I preordered will still be delivered. I haz a very big sad over this.

  49. Claudia
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 14:13:23

    I’m surprised to see Stonestown will be the only San Francisco store standing. I’ve always assumed it had to be least profitable as K-12 and college students clog and use the place like a library. But, it is close to freeways and is on a streetcare line, so I’m guessing Borders hopes people will travel.

    Waldenbooks and the Express stores are definitely next as I think a lot of people will just use Amazon Prime instead of dealing with limited stock and special orders and such. I had actually let Prime go because I had returned to buying more stuff at brick and mortars, but now…

    If nothing else, Stonestown’s borrowed time will still provide a place to get all of my favorite magazines. I stopped nearly all my subscriptions after many of my favorite shelter mags folded.

    As a techie, I think I’m most saddened that San Francisco lost its venerable technical books store Staceys because stores like Borders helped to edge them out. These independents don’t come back when the big box stores close.

  50. Ridley
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 14:18:50

    @Isobel Carr:

    What, they can’t order from online retailers?

    I’ve bought my books from Amazon for the past decade. Sure they’re soulless and corporate, but so are B&N and Borders. I don’t see the difference.

    And, sure, it sucks to get laid off in this environment, but no one mourned my job and the “end of an era” when internet competition killed travel agencies. It happens.

    People have this weird fetish for bookstores. They don’t shop at them, but get all sad and “Welp, there goes society” when they close.

  51. Sharon
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 15:04:51

    Exactly, Ridley — the majority of people who frequented Borders obviously didn’t do a lot of purchasing. They love sitting around in big chairs and reading stuff they don’t have to pay for, all while spilling coffee all over it, but clearly they weren’t BUYING anything.

    Those of us who do buy tend to buy a lot of genre fiction, but Borders (and B&N) started catering to everyone else — to the people who think free wifi and free magazines are an entitlement, and the mommies who want to have coffee and chat while their kids sit at story time, and the ne’er-do-wells who want a warm place to park their butts.

    You can’t be all things to all people, and you have to make the business part of any business a priority. No other store lets folks hang around and use all the merchandise for free like Borders and B&N do.

    Get the food and the sofas and the junk out of the bookstore, get over your (general – no one in particular) big pretentious oh-so-literary and oh-so-political self and sell books real people really buy and really read. Genre fiction readers consume books at a pretty rapid pace and they are consistant repeat buyers. And don’t give away your stuff for free.

    I have time and money — I’m the person you want to keep happy, not some dork who blew in on his skateboard to read a bunch of magazines for free while sitting in your pretend living room chairs. OTOH, you wanna run The People’s Republic of Books, go ahead — see how long that lasts.

    Grrr. Just makes me mad. But, as much as I’d rather have a convenient bookstore, I can and will order online. I have 24/7 concierge service at my building — hell, I can have THEM order my stuff for me, sign for it and bring it up.

  52. Isobel Carr
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 15:04:58

    @Ridley: Large parts of the population still don’t have access to the internet in their homes, and many readers have never ordered a book online (such as my grandmother, who loves to read, but from what I can see will now be hard-pressed to find books). I'm glad YOU won't feel the loss, but clearly a lot of people will.

  53. Diane V
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 15:22:23

    @ Ridley (Not a happy camper today I see.)

    The joy of going to a bookstore is in finding a new author after browsing the shelves for an hour.

    Many people do shop and buy at bookstores — helping to support the local economy. I don’t consider my support of my local bookstore “a weird fetish”, but if that’s your attitude, maybe that’s why people stopped going to a local travel agency versus the internet.

  54. Ridley
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 15:30:50

    @Isobel Carr:

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that people who can’t afford internet access probably can’t afford new books either.

    Nobody was shopping at their stores. Had they been particularly valuable to their communities, they wouldn’t be going under.

  55. Ridley
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 15:35:28

    @Diane V:

    I’m just trying to inject some reason into the discussion. I’m not happy or unhappy.

    I’m also not sure why it’s harder to find new authors online. Between Amazon’s recommendations and sites like Goodreads, I’d say the internet is actually a lot more conducive to discovery than bookstore shelves.

  56. becca
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 15:39:17

    There’s a lot more to the decision to close than “nobody was shopping there” — some of the stores on the list simply have way too expensive a lease to allow the store to be profitable no matter how many people shop there or how valuable the store is to the local community.

  57. Kim in Hawaii
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 15:54:28

    @Ridley: I can afford internet access, but I still prefer to purchase my books from a bookstore. And I prefer to find a new author in a book store than on line. Frankly, online discussions can be toxic at times.

    I suppose Hawaii is an anomoly but the closures on Kauai and the Big Island has an impact. More job losts. Probably less reading as libraries on those islands have had to cut back and shipping almost anything to Hawaii is expensive.

    I am also sorry that the internet displaced travel agencies. I still mourn the loss of customer service.

  58. Diane V
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 16:17:16


    I guess my problem with shopping online is that you have the people who will give an author 5 stars based on previous books (ie Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, JR Ward, etc) rather than what the current book deserves. I just love (highly sarcastic) when a book will have 50 five star reviews and the reviews all say “I’m looking forward to the book — I know that it will be great.”

    I find it impossible to look for new books online — I don’t have the time/inclination to figure out how biased someone’s comments are. I do tend to give Jane’s reviews more weight, but frequently (with new authors) I’ve already bought the book after browsing Borders.

    Glad you are not having a bad day.

  59. Fionn Jameson
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 17:17:54

    :O Oh, cripes. They’re closing the Borders I go to every week. NOT COOL.

  60. Mireya
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 17:53:51

    I used to visit my local Borders quite a bit before they opened a huge Barnes & Noble closer to our apartment. The second the B&N opened, I somehow knew Borders’ situation was not going to be good. The store didn’t look particularly well maintained, and that was before things got to this point. The last time I was there was to get advantage of the Kobo sale, a few weeks back, but it had been a long time since last I had been there.

    Thankfully, they are not shutting the Borders in Plaza Las Americas, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. That’s where my sisters go to when the kids need new reading material.

    I admit I adopted ebooks over 8 years ago and I can’t say I’ve looked back (I have the collection of gadgets to prove it). However, I still like to go to a brick and mortar book store, browse romances, YA books for my nieces, and to see what is new in fantasy and sci-fi for my husband, and since there are no independent ones close to where I live, B&N and Borders were the next best thing.

    It will be a sad day if all brick and mortar stores go the way of the do-do :(

  61. Allie
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 18:57:45

    I wonder how Books-A-Million is doing…since they are the third largest Book chain. I am sadden that Borders is going down. I hope something happens to bring them back up. My husband just upgraded his membership. You can bet we going to use it up the ying yang.

  62. Julia
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 19:24:57

    I practically lived at our borders…I still go there for coffee but since i got my kindle and haven’t really bought any books at borders…
    but its still so sad that our borders will be among the ones that are getting closed

  63. ck
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 19:26:46

    @Fionn Jameson: Mine, too. Fionn. They have already closed the closest one to me (last day was this past Saturday) and now I see from the list that they are closing the NEXT closest one, too. I don’t like B&N or Amazon so I’m not sure what I’m gonna do. :(

  64. Jennie
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 19:32:59

    Happy to see that my local Borders, that I visit at least once a week, usually, is not closing. I’m a little surprised because it sort of seems to be on its last legs in a lot of ways, but I’m not complaining. I can’t believe it, but I remember when it opened, probably almost 20 years ago.

    I was surprised to see that the two downtown San Francisco locations are closing, though. I liked both of those, for different reasons, and am annoyed to think that if I’m shopping downtown, I will not have any bookstore options. But I can imagine they are both very expensive spaces to rent, so maybe it makes sense from that POV.

  65. Deb Kinnard
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 19:54:23

    I think both Borders and B&N lost their way quite a while ago. One of our two local Borders is closing, and IMO it’s the wrong one. But maybe the one I like better wasn’t as profitable…

    Both the B&N stores and the Borders stores in the NW Chicago ‘burbs seem to want to stock everything but books. There are toys, gizmos, puzzles, stationery, little beaded thingies to hang your granny glasses on, ad infinitum.

    But many times I’ve gone in and asked for a particular title, and they’ve rarely had it. Sometimes they’d say it was “unavailable” when I knew otherwise.

    Seems to me as a reader who spent lots of money in these stores that if they’d hunkered down and focused on stocking BOOKS to fill their floor space, they’d have done better. I’ll miss the Mt. Prospect Borders, they seemed a bit more responsive than the Schaumburg store.

  66. peggy h
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 20:27:26

    I shopped quite a bit at Border’s, though perhaps a little less since I bought not one but two ereaders over the holidays. I admit also that I’m more likely to go when there’s a coupon in hand, though I also tend to buy more than what I have coupons for once I’m there! My favorite store is on the cut list, which is expected (it’s located in a high-end mall–I imagine the overhead must too astronomical). There’s another Border’s that I visit sometimes that seems to be safe, but I realize it won’t be the same.

  67. Tabitha
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 21:09:33

    Sad to hear this. I’ve switched primarily to e-books these days but I still like to shop at Borders for those books that I prefer in print. My go-to Borders store is on the list for closing. If you go to Borders website and look up the store nearest you there will be a “closing” indicator beneath the store phone number.

  68. Susan/DC
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 21:14:30

    Both Washington DC stores are closing, one of which is a 10-minute walk from my house. Browsing the shelves was a standard part of my Sunday afternoon routine, and I’m one of those people who sat in the big chairs and drank coffee. I also bought lots and lots of books.

    There’s a wonderful independent book store near my house, Politics & Prose, but it doesn’t carry romance. The closest B&N is several miles away, and B&N seems to treat romance much more carelessly. The staff at my local Borders is careful about reshelving books that people put back any which way, but the staff at B&N do not.

    Borders, I will miss you. My Sundays have suddenly developed a big hole.

  69. Booklover1335
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 21:55:56

    When I wanted a book and didn’t have enough to get free shipping I always went to my local Borders. Not only for the romances that I purchased, but also for the children’s books that I purchased.

    Sadly my Borders will be one of the 200 stores closing. What will I do once it closes…probably buy more from Amazon and have to wait to get the books I want until I have $25 to get free shipping or go to my local BN (which is a real chore)…probably just shop more at Amazon.

    I guess I no longer have to worry about my Borders rewards scan tag that keeps falling off of my keychain :(

  70. Sarah B
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 23:44:54

    I have to admit, when I heard about this I was greatly relieved that the Australian branch of Borders is owned by a different company to the US Borders.

    Then I discovered that the company that owns the Australian branch is going into administration, too — one of the few places you can buy current-release ebooks in this country (and retailing the only affordable ereader in Australia, the Kobo).

    Apparently having an ebook platform didn’t really help here :(

  71. Sally
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 01:48:25

    I’m also surprised the Borders at Stonestown was saved when the one on Powell St. seems to get more foot traffic, but it never occurred to me that the rent could be a factor.

    I don’t shop at Borders as much as I used to, but I love their coupons. Mostly, I now shop at Borders when I want to pick up some manga, but I would actually shop there more if they actually stocked the manga I really want (Red River, Basara, Nodame Cantabile).

  72. Bella F.
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 02:48:28

    according to my local news, none of our local Borders will be closing; I wonder how they’re choosing which stores to close?
    I’m glad I’ll still have the option to browse n buy at Borders though, since I still purchase many of my books that way even though I have an ereader too.

  73. Ivy
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 05:19:34

    Several friends & I lost our jobs when Walden’s closed the mall store here last Jan. The asst. mgr. went to one of the Borders in Indy. Her store is closing. She’s been approached by Ft. Wayne (they aren’t closing) but that’s a quite a commute. Indy was feasible because a daughter lived there. I’m not sure what she’s going do.

  74. Cynthia N.
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 07:37:43

    The Borders I shopped at (20 minutes from the house) closed two years ago. Now, I purchase from them online. I did join their Plus club late last year. They offered some of the best buys on books when offering coupons and free shipping. There is a B&N just minutes from house and I shop there too.

    As far as an e-reader goes, I have a Nook. I buy my ebooks from a variety of sources.

  75. LizC
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 07:50:29

    We have 4 Borders stores and 3 Waldenbooks but only 2 Barnes & Noble. I always shop at Borders if I’m not ordering something from Amazon or going to Half Price. When I worked downtown almost every day on my lunch hour I would go to the Borders (which is one of the stores shutting down and I can only assume it’s because the rent is too high because I always thought they got the most traffic) and I would typically buy a book.

    Fortunately it’s only the 2 super stores that are closing. 2 of the other stores (they’re smaller than the stores Borders built having been indie stores bought out by Borders 8 years ago) will remain open and one of them is the Borders that I typically go to.

  76. LizC
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 07:54:29

    @Allie this is anecdotal but I can tell you that Books-A-Million recently opened a brand new store in one of the malls here. A mall that already included a Waldenbooks that I thought for sure would be closing but is not.

  77. Brian
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 09:41:41

    Borders Australia is not a part of Borders in the US, but it looks like they’re in trouble too…

    Australian book chains Borders, Angus & Robertson and the Whitcoulls chain of newsagencies in New Zealand have been placed into voluntary administration by its private equity owners only a day after the Borders company in the US also collapsed.–robertson-go-bust-20110217-1axt9.html

  78. LizJ
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 10:51:50

    My local Borders is on the list to close. It’s sad, really…it was always busy till just a few months ago. Only B&N and Books-A-Million remain in our area as large booksellers. I don’t know how Books-A-Million has lasted longer than Borders.

  79. jmc
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 11:36:02

    The Borders nearest to my home (20 miles) is not closing, surprisingly.

    While I prefer Borders to B&N, I’ve shopped less at Borders since the Borders Express within walking distance of my home closed; it was in a downtown neighborhood among other retailers, but competition from the B&N superstore a few blocks away drove it out of business.

    If any of you are interested in the perspective of a bookseller who works at one of the larger Borders stores closing, you might want to check out Malnurtured Snay’s blog.

  80. Laura
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 12:37:27

    If sticks around, I guess I’ll do more shopping this way. I’m one of the people who would like to stop shopping at Amazon completely, but when it comes to YA hardcovers and adult hardcovers, their prices are hard to beat. However the Borders rewards program and their generous weekly coupons have made it so much easier for me to avoid Amazon the past few years.

    The problem is the ordering freeze that has been implemented. Does that mean stores that are staying open won’t be receiving any new releases?

    I’ve noticed this month and last that my local Borders didn’t have any of the new books I wanted and when I spoke to a clerk she kept repeating, “Order them online. I’m telling you, if you want them, order them.”

    For personal reasons, I can’t stand Barnes & Noble, but there are several books I want in March so I’ll have to buy those books from BN or Amazon. I’m sad because I like Borders.

    Also want to add that I’m sorry for the workers losing their jobs. I hope many of them can be transferred to other stores.

  81. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Linkity means that I can happily overindulge in exclamation points!!
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 02:02:09

    […] news that Borders filed for bankruptcy spurred all sorts of commentary: Smart Bitches, Dear Author, and An American […]

  82. Gail D.
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 17:00:34

    I find it interesting that the stores closing in Texas, except for one, are all either in Austin, or the Dallas area. Not Dallas/Fort Worth, but Dallas. Except for the one in Burleson. None of the stores in any of the other cities will close–which means the one on the south side of Houston, nearest to me, will remain open.

    I don’t shop in Borders as often as I used to, since I went digital, but occasionally, they do have the best price on an e-book. I just wish their purchase process was better–I almost NEVER buy just one book at a time, and they make it impossible to easily buy more than a single volume.

  83. Collette
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 20:00:05

    @Jane. You asked what I’d do now and online I’ll go. Despite the fact that there are lovely independent bookstores in the area, because all of them seem to be morally opposed to romance books, I don’t really have any choice. I love the look I got when I inquired if they would carry romance. Sigh.

  84. Jane
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 23:08:16

    @Collette I don’t understand that. Really. The indie bookseller should cultivate a relationship with you. Get to know your book tastes and then stock accordingly.

  85. Collette
    Feb 24, 2011 @ 00:36:25

    @Jane: I am totally with you. I live in a university neighborhood (one that perhaps not so coincidentally prides itself on being oh-so-serious and anything but fun) and I think that’s just the culture. It’s really too bad–I went to school there and I’m fun, damn it. ;-)

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