Borders No More
This is not a story with a happy ending. Borders’ struggle for survival is over. The bookstore chain is going to liquidate.
The company will seek permission on Thursday to sell its remaining assets to liquidators Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group. The chain’s remaining 399 stores could begin closing as early as Friday.
"We were all working hard towards a different outcome, but 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," said Mike Edwards, president of Borders Group, in a press release.
In a piece lamenting the demise of the American bookstore, Mitch Albom, a columnist at the Detroit Free Press, wrote, "The problem is people don’t love books the way they once did, nor do they read them the same way. Cheaper electronic versions undermine the need for shelf-space. Younger audiences who haven’t grown up with rainy afternoons spent inside book pages, don’t snap up the latest great read — unless there’s a certain vampire or wizard attached. The backlists of mid-level authors are not lucrative for the balance sheet."
So what will happen with the vacuum created by Borders’ closing?
"When you lose literally miles of bookshelves, it’s going to have an impact," David Young, chief executive of Lagardère SCA’s Hachette Book Group, told The Wall Street Journal. "I hope other retailers will now step up and make offers for what they consider to be the prime sites. It’s a tragedy Borders didn’t make it through."
- Borders Group to Submit Hilco and Gordon Brothers Proposal to Court for Approval – Borders Group
- Mitch Albom: As Borders fades, so does bookstore magic – Detroit Free Press
- Borders Forced to Liquidate, Close All Stores – The Wall Street Journal
Discussion Questions: What will Borders’ demise mean for the book retailing industry and related businesses? Do you expect other book retailers to rush in for the 399 store locations that are closing?