Borders Announces Total Liquidation

By Joe Waynick

borders bookstore

I never expected this. I thought Borders would emerge from bankruptcy a stronger company after shedding most of its debts and excess overhead. That’s what most large companies do. But now they say they’re going to liquidate all 400 of their retail stores.

Indie booksellers shouldn’t be too quick to celebrate the demise of this large and formidable competitor. Think about all of the suppliers who are stuck with unpaid invoices, or at best, only receive pennies on the dollar.

The website DealB% reported ”When it filed for bankruptcy protection in February, Borders owed $272 million to its 30 largest unsecured creditors, including Penguin Group USA, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, Random House, HarperCollins and Macmillan.”

Furthermore, Yahoo Finance reports the New York Times as saying some publishers are planning on shorter print runs now that they’ve lost a major distribution channel for their titles.

And worst of all, think about the 11,000 employees who will lose their jobs in an already tight job market. What will happen to them?

At least some of the stores will be bought by other national bookstore chains reports the Washington Business Journal, as demonstrated by Books-A-Million’s (NASDAQ: BAMM) desire to buy as many as 35 of them.

That’s good news for employees at stores targeted for acquisition. But announced plans to buy defunct stores will only save about 1,500 jobs.

Thus the 40-year reign of this venerable bookseller will soon come to an end. It’s particularly sad and personal to me because Borders was my all-time favorite bookstore. It seems they always carried the type of books I liked to buy in abundant quantities.

In fact, I would spend hours browsing through their bookshelves discovering new and exciting titles by pure chance. I’d lounge around in their comfortable chairs; maybe hang out in the coffee shop skimming through a book before purchasing it.

The sights, the sounds, the hustle and bustle of people coming and going make browsing a truly unique endeavor; an experience that can never be duplicated online. And that statement is coming from an avowed Internet bookseller.

Borders, I’m going to miss you.

* * * * *

For more free articles about selling used books online for profit, visit:

Joe Waynick is author of “Internet Bookselling Made Easy! How to Earn a Living Selling Used Books Online” (ISBN 978-0983129608). You can contact him at:

3 thoughts on “Borders Announces Total Liquidation”

  1. I have to wonder about their stock hitting the market at lower than discount prices and what effect that will have on booksellers everywhere.

    I’m in know way super business savvy but I do have common sense. Seems to me that as many companies get bigger they reach a point where more and more money is spent on ‘administration’ as opposed to actual production &/or sales.

    This can be seen in a Shelf Awareness link at a previous posting by Dianne about the Borders bankruptcy –

    Quote – “For many years, Borders, which was spun off by Kmart and went public in 1995, had several CEOs from outside the business–for some reason, two came from food retailing, notably Hickory Farms and Jewel-Osco, and hired many other top executives from outside the book business. While having some people from nonbook industries could provide fresh air and helpful new perspectives, this tendency seemed to have a corrosive effect on a company that in its early years was famous for its knowledgeable booksellers and solid, deep selection. One minor measure: it’s been years since anyone has mentioned the once-legendary book quiz given to prospective Borders staffers. Likely most of the people running the company in the past few years wouldn’t pass it.”

    Seems with all these ‘smart’ people running the company someone would have seen it coming and raised a warning whistle. – Just a thought…

  2. “Good riddance!”

    I feel for the almost 11,000 people who are losing their jobs, but as far as the company — not a bit of sympathy or remorse.

    For two decades or more, Borders and itsa big-box, corporate-greedy ilk were more than happy to do what they could to drive indie bookstores (“the competition”) out of business, so Borders’ demise is sweet revenge for all the those former booksellers who now work at Home Depot or a gas station.

    Everyone was sure quick to howl about Walmart’s driving small retailers out of business, so where were the same pointed fingers of blame for Borders? Almost nowhere to be found.

    I’ve read many comments from people crying about how their local Borders was such a haven for reading and repose. Maybe they should visit a real bookstore — an indie bookstore, where the staff hand-sells books and can actually recommend titles to readers — and discover a real reading haven. Hell, I could rarely find anyone at a Borders who could direct me to the books I was looking for, much less knew anything about more than the one or two titles they had read in their entire lives.

    Now that the rest of the Borders stores are closing, perhaps a few more indie bookstores will be able to keep their doors open — and that’s a very happy consequence.

  3. As for me I am sad to see another icon fall in our declining society.
    There is a bigger issue here than petty jealousies from sad folks like Jules.
    Jules do you really think that a failed Giant will make David stronger. I don’t think so. For those that could not make it before having Borders disappear will not help them.

Comments are closed.