Is Borders About To Go Under?

Yesterday’s post about Borders closing down its unprofitable CD and DVD sections prompted a tip from the owner of a small music label. He says his distributor has already cut off shipments to Borders once for nonpayment (in November 2008), and on Monday the distributor warned labels that they’ll have to agree not to hold him “liable on any future shipments to Borders in case they file for bankruptcy.” Borders’ CFO left in January, which is rarely a good sign for a troubled company. And this morning, the Detroit Free Press notes that the bookseller is facing being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. We may not have to wait long to find out; CEO Ron Marshall is hosting a conference call with analysts and investors next week.

(Photo: doortoriver)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. iam118 says:

    GOOD. RIDDANCE.

    • EyeHeartPie says:

      @iam118: Your statement makes it seem you had a personal beef with them. Care to clarify?

      I’ve had good experiences at Borders, and they have good sales and coupons every now and then (even though their normal prices are inflated, with a 40% coupon, even inflated prices become decent deals).

      • supercereal says:

        @EyeHeartPie: I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Border’s as well. A bit more expensive than online stores, but nothing beats a store where you can sit in a comfy chair and read before you buy.

        @iam118:I’m guessing you’re just another one of the “anti-big business no matter what” types that make up all too many commenters on this site.

    • chauncy that billups says:

      @iam118: Once borders and B&N go, we’ll see a surge in small, local bookstores, like existed before the rise of big boxers. If you want good deals and all options, just shop Amazon. If you want the smell of books, sense of community and a personal touch, go to your local Mom&Pop shop…only we should now call them ‘sister&brother’ shops, since mom&pop are probably long retired.

    • jc364 says:

      @iam118: Why the hate towards Borders? I personally enjoy their store. And if I am looking for a book over a particularly odd subject matter, I’m much more likely to find it either there or at b&n rather than a small local store. Borders and b&n are more expensive than smaller shops, but they both have their place.

      • SpaceCat85 says:

        @iam118: Most of the independent bookstores I’ve been to in my area are pretty much always at MSRP and have a slim chance of having what I want in a given section. Before Borders and B&N moved into my area, there were mostly chain stores like Encore Books, which could have pretty good discounts but again had a hit-or-miss selection because of their size (though better than the indies). Borders has much greater odds of having the book I want, has more books to browse in a given section if I’m not looking for something in particular, and sometimes gives decent discounts. For some niche things like manga it sometimes comes out to roughly the same cost (or less) to buy in-store at Borders than online if you aren’t buying a huge, contiguous series of them at once, even when you look at used volumes online.

        It’s like movie megaplexes: if I had any cool historic movie theaters or drive-ins in my area (or places that showed obscure/foreign films) I’d be complaining, but up through the `90s my area mostly had drab, run-down `70s theaters with crummy seating designs and periodic sound/projection problems, so the big chain theaters were actually a huge step up.

  2. Your friends can call you HoJu! says:

    Meh… No big loss.

    • Your friends can call you HoJu! says:

      @Your friends can call you HoJu!: Well, except to their employees. Thats unfortunate.

      • You Cannot Untoast says:

        @Your friends can call you HoJu!:

        A good friend of mine just got canned from them. He’s newly married and wants to move out of his apartment to a house. So, kind of a big loss for him.

        On the subject of the company itself, I’m bummed. I spend a lot of my lunch hours at the local borders, and I give them a lot of my money. This particular store is closing soon, and it bums me out.

  3. MonkeyMonk says:

    But wait . . . isn’t Borders a frequent “value” stock pick in magazines such as Kiplinger’s? Does this mean the “experts” at Kiplinger’s are as clueless as the rest of us when it comes to picking stocks and profitable companies?

    • Bargaineering.com says:

      @MonkeyMonk: Yes. No one can see the future.

    • BrokenSoul says:

      @MonkeyMonk: No, it means the experts may be in collusion to keep the stock price artificially high in order to sell their (or their friends) shares at a more profitable price. It could also mean that the experts are clueless. You decide how bitterly you want to look at the world.

  4. willdude says:

    Oh no! Now how will I find out which books I might like if I liked Twilight!?!?

  5. redskull says:

    Maybe no big loss to you, but my city only has 2 bookstores left– Borders and Barnes & Noble. Before anyone says it, yes, I know I can order anything I want from Amazon, but sometimes a person just wants to browse in a physical space, rather than sit in their house and order stuff.

    If this crap keeps up it’s going to be really easy to save money, because there simply won’t be anywhere left to go to spend it.

    • Shadowfire says:

      @redskull: We have a Borders. The next closest book store is about 60 miles away. :|

    • CubeRat says:

      @redskull:

      I agree. I like being able to walk into a bookstore and browse. That way, I may see something else that’ll catch my eye that I might not have even noticed if I was on Amazon.

      Also, I sometimes just like the smell of books.

      • lalaland13 says:

        @CubeRat: Yes. This. And I say this as someone who lives in a town with neither Borders nor Barnes and Noble. We have another bookstore, though, and while it’s not fabulous, it keeps me from going insane. Sometimes I just need to walk around a bookstore and clear my head.

    • hellinmyeyes says:

      @redskull: I’m with you. We have one Borders, one Books-A-Million, and one Barnes & Noble. I’ve never had a problem with either store. They keep their stores well-stocked, their associates are friendly, and their prices are fair considering I’d go there if I either want to touch the book before buying or I need it right then.

      I’ll never buy a thing from BAMM. They have nothing worth looking at.

      Oddly enough, our Barnes & Noble is in a mall whose main tenants are leaving by droves because the property owner is essentially insolvent and the required anchor stores have closed, so that one might just end up in the past, too.

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:

      @redskull: Yeah, and there’s something about the instant gratification of being able to find a book, buy it, take a book home and start reading it on a boring weekend afternoon that you just can’t get from ordering things from Amazon.

      At least there will still be a Barnes & Noble in town if Borders goes away. The only other choice we have is a horrible used bookstore that in terms of organization is just barely a step above having a room with several bins of books tossed randomly in them and usually has checkout lines that are reminiscent of the Soviet Union bread lines.

    • captadam says:

      @redskull: Oh, but we have KINDLE! Because I am very interested in directed searches, and I ALWAYS know exactly what book I want, and I NEVER want to take down a book and leaf through it! All data, all the time, baby!!

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @redskull: Yeah, living in a small city, I’ve really noticed the store closings have made local shopping difficult. I had to buy a DVD player online recently because Target had only one model that did what I wanted, and it wasn’t in stock; Best Buy’s cheapest in-stock model was $130 and didn’t do what I wanted; and that’s kinda it for local electronics retailers now that Circuit City is gone unless I’m willing to drive way out to a big furniture-and-TVs store.

      The big boxes drove smaller local retailers out of business, and now that they’re pulling out, there’s not a lot left.

      (And as for bookstores, of non-big-box stores, we have two “adult” bookstores, three used bookstores, and one Christian bookstore. If Borders & B&N leave, that’s all we got left.)

    • trujunglist says:

      @redskull:

      I find walking around in bookstores one of the only instances were B&Ms are superior to online shopping. You can flip through a book, sit back and relax and read an entire one if you want, and just kind of take in the quiet atmosphere. I’ve always loved libraries and book stores, maybe because of the incredible amount of knowledge everywhere.

  6. astrograph says:

    *sigh* i always liked their javanilla shake

  7. zibby says:

    Too bad. Since nobody ever shopped there, Border’s DVD section was a good spot to get the odd release that had been out of print for awhile or recalled. I was able to grab a couple of those MST3K sets with Godzilla vs. Megalon at least a couple months after they were pulled.

    • redskull says:

      @zibby: Haw! I did the same thing! As soon as I heard that set was being pulled I went to Borders and picked it up.

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @zibby: WOOO! I love MST3k! We still have MST3k parties with friends, the most recent of which was “Puma Man”.

      • SybilDisobedience says:

        @GuinevereRucker: PumaMan is a fine, fine, film, by which I mean it’s a total turd and it’s one of my MST3K favorites. Rarely has a movie been so poorly written and executed every step of the way.

        By the way, Vidinho (the Onion) went on to be a pretty big actor in Europe, if I recall correctly. Can’t remember if he’s still alive and kicking or not.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I stopped shopping at Borders or Barnes and Noble when I discovered Amazon years ago. No surprise as the prices at these chains are always inflated. This is just “the market adjusting itself.”

  9. chris_l says:

    Another shame is their Border Rewards program is actually pretty good. Free to sign up and you get anywhere from 20-40% off. Granted, 40% is pretty rare, but still. Compare that to paying for B&N’s 10%.

    I still like to go to the book store to browse, but I ultimately order from Amazon. I just wish Amazon always offered previews for all books and their previews were bigger (some previews I’ve seen had 1 page of actual content). 5% of the content of the book is a great indicator as to whether or not the full content is worth it. If they did that I’m sure my book purchases would skyrocket.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @chris_l:

      I just signed up for the Borders Reward thing, darn it.

      I have the B&N card too and although I don’t go that often, I usually spend a bunch when I am there, so the card pays for itself pretty quickly.

      Amazon is usually cheaper though. But I don’t always want to wait for shipping.

  10. Andrew Mussey says:

    I really hope they stick around a little longer. If it takes sacrificing their CD/DVD section, than so be it. It’s still nice to be able to glance around a brick-and-mortar book store, even if just to laugh at weird books. Unlike Circuit City, Borders is really the only major book store locally for me.

  11. Etoiles says:

    Grr. I just got a $50 Borders gift card as a reward for a thing I did at work. I’ve never liked them best but they’re the one across the street from the office. And that $2 book sale they had a month ago was great.

    So. If they’re going out of business, they had damn well better hold off until after I receive and have the chance to spend my gift card! One more month, guys!

    • rickhamilton620 says:

      @Etoiles: Same, I’ve been holding a borders Gift Card from 2 christmas’s ago. Was planning to spend it on a season of the IT Crowd!

  12. MattO says:

    i really hope they dont go out – they are much cheaper than B&N with their coupons…and i love actually going into a store to be able to read a chapter or something of a book….or just to browse…

  13. Jeangenie says:

    I think Borders is doing the responsible thing doing away with music & DVDs. I think speculation of them going under is premature. If the big BOOK publishers were putting them on hold (and I think some of the small ones are) it would be telling, but for now I think they are keeping their heads above water.

    Remember, they already did BIG personnel cuts and reduced inventories, the stores look better in my opinion.

  14. Ninja007 says:

    GIFT CARDS: Use ‘em quick

  15. Gaambit says:

    I work at a B&N in a town where there is also a Borders, and I’ve been hearing various grumblings from customers recently, from Borders not being able to special order certain items, or requiring that all special orders be paid for ahead of time. These weren’t always small-press books either, some of them were from major publishers. Word was that it was because their suppliers were not getting paid and were severely limiting what they could get. The above story seems to support that.

  16. morganlh85 says:

    Their major problem is that they never jumped on the online bandwagon the way Barnes & Noble did…that kills businesses these days.

    • Jake Muha says:

      @morganlh85: That’s probably because for a while, there was a partnership between Borders and Amazon (i.e. you’d type in http://www.borders.com and you’d end up being redirected to Amazon). Why that partnership dissolved, I don’t know, but it seems strange that Borders never picked up the slack when it ended. Maybe there was a non-compete clause that they (still) might be waiting out which is partly to blame for this?

      • INTPLibrarian says:

        @Jake Muha: ??? Borders.com is live and online. Plus, it lets you check to see if a book you want is available in your chosen brick and mortar store. You can even request that someone there pick up the book and hold it for you at the counter.

        I guess the real problem is that more people don’t know this?

  17. Margaret Powell says:

    In DC, this is going to be a problem. We have Borders all over the place, and Barnes and Noble.

  18. billsquared says:

    @redskull: Maybe no big loss to you, but my city only has 2 big box corporate bookstores left– Borders and Barnes & Noble.

    FTFY.

    I’d be somewhat surprised if there wasn’t an independent bookstore SOMEWHERE nearby you. True, indies don’t generally discount NYT/etc., but what they lack in deep-discount prices, they generally more than make up for in willingness to help you find/acquire what you’re looking for, and are usually immensely grateful just for your business. Plus, if you spend more than a dollar in an indie shop by the end of March, Stephen King’s kid might give you stuff and you’re supporting your local economy with your dollars.

    You’ll be happy you did.

    • hellinmyeyes says:

      @billsquared: Wrong. You’ll never find an indie book store (outside of the top 10 metros) that sells anything worth mentioning in recent/technical nonfiction.

    • grumpymo says:

      @billsquared:

      If local indie stores deigned to carry the occasional best sellers instead of catering to a niche market so small that they have nothing for anyone outside of that niche, more people might support them.

      There are two indie bookstores in the local shopping district, neither carry anything resembling mainstream mysteries or adventures, and forget anything for children. They aren’t even welcome in the store.

      • Papercutninja says:

        @grumpymo: Soon they’ll realize that no one wants to by a Nietzsche-influenced vegan cookbook printed with soy ink on 100% post-consumer recycled diapers.

        I love all kinds of bookstores (used, new, big box, independent) and just wished all of them were as friendly as my local used and big box’ers. Hey Indies: stop taking yourselves so seriously.

    • supercereal says:

      @billsquared: The “big box corporate bookstore” employees by me have always been willing to help me find items, make recommendations, and just be helpful in general. Contrary to your thinking, knowledgeable and dedicated employees can actually work in a variety of places, not just the “mom and pop” stores.

      I just can’t stand the “independent automatically makes it better” mentality.

    • KristinaBeana says:

      @billsquared:
      Unless you live in a small college town and the independent stores are all affiliated with the university and one manner or another. No such thing as an inexpensive book there, unless you are a student bringing one back and getting 10 cents on the dollar.

  19. pmw says:

    I’m probably in the minority, but I’ve had $40 worth of gift cards to Borders since (no exaggeration!) 2003. I’ve gone into different Borders throughout the years, looking for something to pique my interest enough to spend money on. There was nothing worth buying.

    It seems that Borders specializes in books that need to look good rather than be good. Everything was shiny, glossy, on high-quality paper, expensive, and lacking in content. To me, that shows a lack of respect for the customer.

    Good riddance.

    • Canino says:

      @pmw: Have to agree with that comment. Usually it’s difficult to get me out of a good bookstore. But if I go in a Borders, I’m ready to leave in 10 minutes.

      I think the only books I’ve ever bought there were some technical books in the programming section – nothing special. I think I found a good mixology book once. Other than that, looking through sections such as outdoors (fishing, kayaking) I was able to find not one book I was interested in.

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @Canino:

        The clearance racks usually have good stuff. I found a great big Edgar Allen Poe compendium for $7. It was like a $40 book.

    • Anonymous says:

      @pmw: I’ve noticed the opposite. My local B&N is filled with popular fiction and coffee table books, while the Borders I go to has some of the largest nonfiction sections of any I’ve seen. Their philosophy section is larger than my colleges was.

    • Anonymous says:

      To blame the selection, especially anytime prior to the past 9 months after inventory reductions, on not finding anything interesting to read is just silly. It’s a failure of imagination. You are talking about a store that is(was) stocked to the gills with books of history, lit, hobby, etc. Obviously they can’t carry everything but certainly this store had $40 worth of something worthy.

  20. razremytuxbuddy says:

    I agree about the Borders Rewards program. It’s a good way to get occasional good discounts. And, I like going to the bookstore to browse and have a cup of Mocha on Sunday evenings, when everything else in town is shut down.

    Unfortunately, over the last year I’ve cut my book purchases to almost zero, and have been trying to use the library instead.

  21. Weirdsmobile says:

    It’s hard to feel bad about Borders (maybe) going under, since these big-box megabookstores were responsible for the current sad condition of independent booksellers. Those of you who are saying that there are no bookstores in your town except for Borders and B&N…sadly, Borders and B&N are themselves the cause of that. I guess it’s possible that small bookstores could come back in the wake of megabookstores dying off, but now with Amazon and online selling…kinda doubt it.

    • masterage says:

      @Weirdsmobile: Well, I used to have a mom & pop bookstore around here (with incredible prices on manga compared to literally everyone else including internet deals…not that often I get 50 volumes of manga for about $50 on a regular day), but they didn’t close due to competition. They retired, moved to a much bigger estate, and went back to college because of the boredom.

      But now we have NO bookstore in town and now we have to drive an hour to the nearest one, and the nearest one that carries manga is an hour and a half away.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Weirdsmobile: that’s not entirely true. where i live, for example, the only bookstore that existed in the area before borders and bn was a really really crappy crown books. in a lot of suburbs, especially relatively new ones, there just never were a lot of “independent” bookstores. borders and bn really filled a void.

  22. cheepers says:

    Oh this is a bit sad. My father worked at the very first Borders in Ann Arbor when he was young and has always said that is where he got his love of reading (which he passed down to us kids). I’ve since moved to Florida, and the Borders down here always remind me of home, even though they’re not nearly as cool as that original store.

    It’s silly and nostalgic, but I hope still hope it isn’t true, because I know it would bum my dad out.

    • Anonymous says:

      @cheepers: The Borders that exists today is NOTHING like the one your dad worked at. Heck, it’s not even the same company I worked for starting in the mid-’90s. It’s sad to see a company fall so far from it’s beginnings and philosophy.

  23. Robobot says:

    @redskull: Before Border’s came to my home town the closest book store or music store was 22 miles or so away. I live in the city now, but going to Border’s is quite literally one of the only things to do when I’m home visiting my family.

  24. Urgleglurk says:

    @MargaretPowell:

    Problem for me, too. Nearest big box stores are in Frederick, MD, Leesburg, VA and the District – all about an hour away. We have no bookstores in our county at all (Jefferson Co. WV). (Before all the jokes about WV start appearing, I’m a midwest transplant.)
    Independent bookstores are pretty much limited to the District in my area and are in trouble financially. *sigh* Another sign of the Apocalypse? ;-)

  25. Mr-Mr says:

    I seldom walk into these chain book stores because their prices are ridiculously over-inflated. But, if someone is willing to overpay for something, then let them be.

    I think that one of the reasons these stores suffer in their sales is because a lot of people use them as a public library. They go in, grab a book, sit in the comfy chairs, maybe order some coffee, and be there for hours. Yes, I’m aware that more than likely, the coffee shop is either part of the book store, or subleasing giving the main book store a cut of the sales. But, if people were to browse a book and buy it, it’d be a different story.

    • UASteph says:

      @Mr-Mr: This is an honest question, not a snark, I promise.

      How are their prices overinflated if they’re charging what is printed on the book itself (not the sticker, but the book)? Do the big box chains negotiate these prices with the publishers? Or is it just that others like Amazon and Target mark them down?

      • pmw says:

        @UASteph: what’s printed on the book is the MSRP; that’s just about the highest price one can charge for the book. The MSRP is designed to yield a lot of profit per book to the store, since all stores buy these books for a lot less. If a store wants to increase value to the customer, it will charge less while still making profit. That’s what the likes of Amazon do.

        • edosan says:

          @pmw: Except for the fact that brick and mortar bookstores have to pay for all those bricks and mortar (and charge you sales tax to boot).

  26. Anonymous says:

    Good riddance indeed!

    Borders stores have a terrible right-wing slant in their politics section. For example, ann coulter and bill o’reilly books invariably seem to be placed in front of progressive authors, and the last time I visited a borders outside the DC area, the only DC paper they carried was the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s “Washington Times” – not even the Washington Post!

    • edosan says:

      @DavidCyzicus: It’s called “the lowest common denominator.” Why stock 100 books that may sell when you can stock 100 copies of the same bill O’Reilly book that will probably sell quickly?

    • HaxRomana says:

      @DavidCyzicus: It’s funny. I worked at Borders for two years, and all the right-wingers complained to us about how our politics section was listing a little too far to port. Five minutes later, someone else would come up and complain about all the Ann Coulter faceouts and tell us that we were under-representing the left-wing books.

      Long story short, nobody is happy in the politics section. Ever.

    • You Cannot Untoast says:

      @DavidCyzicus:

      While I never saw why – Bush was incredibly popular, and for years right wing politics inundated a lot of traditional media. If Borders had a lot of those books, it was due to the times. Now they have a ton of Obama books. Supply/Demand.

  27. lotussix says:

    when i used to buy lots of cds (before napster or any other p2p) i used to like to shop @ barnes & noble’s cd selection because they would get “imports” which were rare and really just for collection purposes. whenever i went to borders, their selection was the same as any other store selling cds. also, it’s crazy that borders actually charges MSRP on DVDs. i don’t think i’ve ever bought a dvd for $27.99.

    anyway, the cd/dvd section needed to go long ago.

    i still buy cds…. only for the artists i REALLY like.

  28. tc4b says:

    As a cheapskate and book lover, I only shop for books in used stores, of which we have a few locally, some good some not. True I can’t get the newest hits, but it’s almost more fun that way. It’s like a treasure hunt. That’s corny, I know, but I like finding some out-of-print thing with a gaudy cover and giving it a shot for $2 or less.

    I do buy CD’s at Borders, though, because they frequently have 25% off everything teacher weekends, and Border’s gift cards are a common gift for teachers around here. Plus, all the used CD places closed.

    • magstheaxe says:

      @tc4b: “As a cheapskate and book lover, I only shop for books in used stores, of which we have a few locally, some good some not. True I can’t get the newest hits, but it’s almost more fun that way. It’s like a treasure hunt. That’s corny, I know, but I like finding some out-of-print thing with a gaudy cover and giving it a shot for $2 or less.”

      It’s not corny at all, and I am th exact same why–it IS like a treasure hunt, and finding a good copy of a book you want for a great price is almost as rewarding as reading the book itself.

      Another great aspect: it allows me to give books away to people who might like them. I’m one of those readers that, if I really like a book, I want others to read it and will give my copy to someone else to keep if they’ll read it. (Did that with a few copies of Freakonomics). So buying used just helps facilitate that.

      I do hate to see Borders go, though. They bought out a popular independent chain here in my town several years ago–in fact, the founders of Border had helped the founders of our local chain get started in the business. Local book fiends embraced Borders when they came into town because of that. So if Borders goes under, we’ll be stuck with BAM and B&N.

  29. HiPwr says:

    I find it odd that so many people find pleasure in the (potential) demise of a company. Especially a company selling products as benign as books. My hope is that Borders can do whatever it takes to re-organize and find a competitive edge that captures a share of the market. More competition is a GOOD thing.

  30. Adhominem says:

    Borders has what can now be called “Circuit City Syndrome” Too many people at the top making too many bad decisions.

    I worked for Borders for 7 months before quitting. I even had an interview for an analyst position within Borders corporate. Through my time and experience there, Borders closing is a matter of “when” and not “if”.

    There is a large discrepancy between how employees are treated. For example, the Inventory Processing Team (IPT) is expected to unpack shipments of books/media/Paperchase, help customers when it gets busy, answer phones, etc. However this is not true of the rest of the store when unexpectedly large shipments are received. The turnover on the IPT at the store where I was employed was ridiculous, to the tune of 100% every 3-4 months. And by 100% I mean planned walkouts due to everyone being fed up.

    There is very little accountability for the managers and they kind of just shoved everything off on the Booksellers and IPT. Even Cafe-exclusive employees would get shoved into doing end-caps,etc.

    • HaxRomana says:

      @Adhominem: Your comment nails it, except that when I a supervisor at Borders there always seemed to be PLENTY of accountability for whichever member of the management staff was the least popular that month.

  31. chrisjames says:

    And they just converted their snack bar to Seattle’s Best. I guess being a B&N-alike doesn’t work, especially if you don’t lease enough space. I’d blame the real loss on no one buying books anymore, because they’re f’ing expensive. $15 for Heller’s Catch-22 in paperback? Ironic!

    I can only imagine B&N skating by because of their huge partnership with Starbucks and obvious pushing of calendars, datebooks, stationery, and other non-book related baubles (including the tables of “books I buy to show off to other people but don’t read myself” at the front). It’ll be sad not having the alternative to the social scene that is Barnes & Noble.

  32. philipbarrett says:

    I always felt sorry for the assistant who has to say “sorry, we don’t have that in stock but I can order it for you.” Like I can’t type amazon.com into a browser myself.

    B&N & Borders are trapped, they need to keep a huge stock to be successful (after a couple of “don’t have its” you give up visiting) yet implementing such a stock requires prices that can’t compete with Amazon.

    Catch 22.

    • INTPLibrarian says:

      @philipbarrett: Yeah, most of us here at Consumerist can order a book online for ourselves, but it’s not true that *everyone* feels comfortable doing that. I still know people who won’t give their credit card number online no matter what. (I’m not saying those people are logical, just that they exist.)

      Also, having Borders order it for you means that if you don’t like it, you don’t have to pay for it or pay for returning it. That might not be true for *all* books, but that’s what’s been explained to me a few times.

  33. Michael Mace says:

    I’ve seen many people comment “I like to go in and look at the books, but I buy them at Amazon.” May I ask how that would keep them in business? I think that’s the problem with all bookstores, and it’s short sighted for consumers. Eventually, the only place to buy a book will be Amazon, and you won’t be able to look at the item first.

  34. Baccus83 says:

    I actually like Borders a lot. Hardcover books are one of the few luxury purchases I allow myself, and Borders keeps their first editions longer than any other store. They don’t rotate them out once the paperback is released, like B&N. Plus the Borders on the Mag Mile in Chicago (which is closing) has great book signing events all the time, something else that B&N doesn’t have. I will actually be pretty upset if they go under. I found a lot of good books there.

    • INTPLibrarian says:

      @Gene Gemperline: Noooo! Borders on Mich Ave is closing?? I love that place. I frequently have meetings near there and love hanging out at Borders before and after.

      Though, I guess this might save me money since I always seem to spend at least $50 each time I’m there!

      • Baccus83 says:

        @INTPLibrarian: Yeah – I read in the Trib a couple weeks ago that they’ll be closing that location in 2010 because of slow sales. It’s a pity – I frequent the location often and have bought several books there. I wonder what store, if any, will move in? It’s a huge space.

  35. Adhominem says:

    @Chrisjames:

    Seattle’s Best = Starbucks. B&N paid for exclusive access to the Starbucks name.

  36. calquist says:

    Long live Books-A-Million!!!!!!!

  37. ryaninc says:

    I love Borders, honestly. I rarely buy anything because I’m unemployed myself, I’ve always enjoyed just going to bookstores and wandering around. Barnes & Noble somehow just isn’t as nice as Borders. Part of it is that B&N has Starbucks whereas Borders has Seattle’s Best, which is far superior, in my mind.

  38. ElizabethD says:

    I absolutely need our local Borders when I must have a book RIGHT AWAY. Also, it’s fun to browse there. To me, this is not good news.

  39. Adhominem says:

    @Gene Gemperline:

    Keeping 1st Editions is actually a by-product of lazy logistics and shipping. Our store had 156 copies of Harry Potter 7 sitting around for over a year. (still selling at MSRP mind you) I frequently requested for them to ship them back to empty out storage shelf-space.

    Finally one of the assistant managers agreed to let me pack them up to ship back to the warehouse. 2 weeks later, I receive a shipment and open it up and there they were again! Apparently we the computer system dictates how many we should have and even if we don’t want them anymore, we need to keep them.

    The same happens for other books as well, just not on as large a scale.

    • Baccus83 says:

      @Adhominem: Interesting. That’s one of the main reasons I shop there. I guess most people don’t go out of their way to buy the hardcover first edition once the paperback is released, but I prefer them myself. With Amazon you never know the printing number of their hardcovers, so you might end up with a first edition – third printing, etc. I love going to Borders because I can actually check the number line. Hell – I’ve seen first editions there for great books that are five years old! If Borders goes under, how am I supposed to continue stocking my library?

  40. deleteboy says:

    These f-ers have upped the amount of ‘opt-in’ e-mail over the last three months – from 1 or 2 every 2 weeks to almost 1 per day – no lie. Desperate much, Borders?

    Also – they’ve e-mailed me at least 3 times in the last 2 weeks that ‘You’re invited…’ – solicitation e-mails from their Borders Rewards Perks mkting arm – enticing me to enable my Perks account – which I enabled back in November.

  41. paco says:

    Though the news is hardly surprising, it makes me sad. I have fond memories of buying books at the original Borders in Ann Arbor before they partnered and capitalized and decided to take on B&N. Over the years, I always preferred shopping at Borders, both out of nostalgia and because they were more likely to have obscure titles in stock.

    Unfortunately, Borders always seemed to open in the least convenient locations possible – the farthest retail strip from town – and they never jumped on the revenue cash-cow of operating university bookstores.

    As for the indie-defenders out there, I appreciate what you’re saying, but there are many, many towns that don’t have the luxury of a decent independent bookseller. And, frankly, wishing a company like this would go under simply means you wish more people were out of jobs in the end.

  42. Jabes says:

    They also have a really wide selection of magazines that I will miss if they go under.

  43. Jesse says:

    Hopefully Borders can recover from whatever financial difficulty they are experiencing.

    Brick and mortar bookstores are helpful for those who prefer to touch the physical product. I love using the internet and Amazon but if I don’t know what the heck to buy, it’s more convenient go to a store and browse around a subject matter vs. navigating around a website. Plus, the return process is less of a hassle if I don’t like the book.

  44. dorkhero says:

    HEY!!!

    They are called ‘LIBRARIES’, and they are FREE!!

    USE THEM!

    • Baccus83 says:

      @dorkhero: Some people, like me, prefer to own their books.

    • Jesse says:

      @dorkhero:

      My local library has an abysmal selection of books.

      • You Cannot Untoast says:

        @Jesse: Same here. I find that true of most libraries I’ve been to. Which is unfortunate really, because I enjoyed the library a lot as a kid.

      • INTPLibrarian says:

        @Jesse: You *should* be able to ask your library to get almost any book you want via interlibrary loan. (Obviously, I’m biased in favor of libaries!) You may have to wait a while, though.

        But, yeah, some books I want to own, too.

    • Anonymous says:

      @dorkhero:
      Since the recession began, our local library (and its branches) report not only long wait/reservation lists, but an alarming number of titles now show as “missing” on the online card catalog. This goes for recent best-sellers as well as work from 5 years ago.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @dorkhero: I’m in my library all the time because it’s right next door.

      Still, if you read or need to reference a book often it’s easier to own it.

    • consumerfan says:

      @dorkhero: Libraries tend not to follow the times. I gave up going to the university library for books because they didn’t have anything pertinant to my course. Pretty much all the reference books I have read are recent.

      And I much prefer owning novels to the scraggly, damp, sticky, dog-eared pages of a library book.

      The only good thing about libraries is the internet access, which I no longer need.

      Libraries are great – but not for everyone.

  45. skwigger says:

    I’m a Borders Rewards member and try to use every coupon they send me. The problem is their lack of selection because of all the wasted space on CDs and DVDs. I hope they use the extra space wisely when these sections are cleared out.

    Also, the local Walden Books is going out of business, but so are most of the stores in that mall (Fashion Square Orlando, FL).

  46. drkkgt says:

    I went to one yesterday cause I was passing by. It is apparently being closed down so they were having huge sales. For example, all their moleskine pads were 75% off. So yeah if they go under, I am going back to shop asap.

  47. angrychicken says:

    I worked at Borders on Long Island for four years and while I always thought they would go under with the rest of the chain bookstores I didn’t think it would happen so soon. But when you pump so much money into CD’s and DVD’s that you sell for more than the Best Buy down the road (even when they mark them on sale) and you’re consistently cutting hours for employees this is what happens.

  48. gggtur says:

    No one’s heard of the library?

  49. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    Who reads books? Intarwebz!

    Actually, I’m sad to see Borders struggle. I prefer going to Borders over any of the other big box bookstores.

    As far as the movie/music thing? Good riddance – I saw that as a severe distraction from their focus. The prices were not even close to competitive, and the selection was minimal.

  50. Kevin says:

    Borders is off 97% from their high in 2005. The trend the two past quarters (all of history?) is that a company that looses 90% or more of its value goes belly up within a few weeks.

    It looks like they have been holding on, but with the departure of their CFO in January I would have to agree with the speculation.

  51. GIZisGOD says:

    No surprise here since they charge an arm and leg for their DVD sets. For example, a set of “Lost” in their stores, they want $60 when I can get it on Amazon.com for $45. Where do they get off charging $15 more?

  52. barb95 says:

    But Borders is a great place to buy my Twilight books! I once went in there and I swear, half the store was covered in New Moon and Eclipse.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I would be disappointed if they closed, it was a good place to go and browse book, as well as buy books. I don’t think their prices are more in fact less then most stores i go to.

    I don’t understand all the hate for the store. I think book stores are good for people like me who don’t like to buy something they have never seen before, a picture on a computer is not the same as holding a book and flipping through it before you buy it. Also when I buy a book it is because I wanted to read it not wait a week to read it.

    As far as the print quality, I did not know that Borders had control over the publishers preferences on how a book will be made. That comment about the books being too glossy has nothing to do with the store.

  54. suburbancowboy says:

    Luckily, where I work in NYC, Strand is just a short walk from office. That place is awesome. And on Long Island, I like to go up to Book Revue in Huntington, nice big independent bookstore.

    While I do like the convenience of buying online, you really can’t do what I love to do. Browse the bargain bin, and find a book that I have never heard of and thumb through, and then buy it.

  55. glass_slipper says:

    The Border’s in the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica closed a few months ago. This is still a heavily trafficked shopping area, so, yeah.

    Oddly enough, I was told that the Borders near me in Northridge (somewhat far-flung L.A. suburb) is the highest grossing store of theirs in Southern CA. Seemed odd, but it doesn’t have “that” much competition. (we used to have a Barnes and Noble a few blocks down from Borders, but it closed a few years ago)

    Closest other bookstore now is a $1 bookstore (a few of these have been popping up lately) which are the very tempting alternative. Libraries are good too, but ever since they cut the borrowing time from 3weeks to 2, it’s made things a little more difficult in finishing books before the due date (think they cut renewal dates too) Plus, the waiting list for something new/popular can go on for months…

  56. SybilDisobedience says:

    Borders used to be my Sunday afternoon tradition with my dad. Go to the store, curl up with a good book on one of the chairs while Dad browsed and drank coffee, then (more often than not) head home with at least one new book.
    Then I moved to Texas and discovered Half-Price Books, and later, half.com, Amazon and eBay. Haven’t stepped foot into a Borders in years.

  57. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    There are a pretty good amount of bookstores near where I live, but B&N reigns supreme, and I actually really enjoy their selection. I’d rather browse in a musty used bookstore, but I’d rather sit down with a book in B&N.

    I’ve been a B&N member for a long time, and I think the savings are spectacular. Also, the B&N is a lot nicer than the Borders here, and it’s not as far.

  58. mariospants says:

    Never could figure out how some of these big box book stores stayed so long in business in some of the overserviced areas. Guess it was just a matter of time.

  59. kwsventures says:

    Please don’t tell congress or Obama. Borders doesn’t need a taxpayer funded welfare check to stay alive. Let it die.

  60. yagisencho says:

    Hm…is that gift card at home for Borders or Barnes and Noble? In any case, use it or lose it people.

  61. MinervaAutolycus says:

    I live in Southern California and there used to be tons of bookstores around here. There were small, independent ones, but many of the owners were idiots. I went looking for romances in one and the clerk had no idea the publisher Harlequin existed. But so many of the stores are closing. B&N closed its BookStar a few years ago and now the Borders Express at the mall has closed. That leaves only a couple of Borders nearby and a B&N about 12 miles away. My daughter and I go to the Borders a lot. I get the coupons and she buys manga. I used to buy tons of books, but now I get hardcovers and many paperbacks from the library. Sometimes I buy paperbacks to fill out my Amazon order. As for CDs, I buy more music now than I did when I was in a college, and I can’t remember the last time I bought a CD. I download from either iTunes or Amazon.

  62. billsquared says:

    @all: Sorry, didn’t mean that to come off quite so narrowly-focused. “Indie” is actually quite a bit broader than you might think — hell, even Borders would’ve fit the bill once upon a time. Check out the Indie Store Finder if you’re curious — and indies can be chains too, just generally not more than regional. Northern Michigan has Horizon Books, the northwest has Powell’s, so on and so forth. Yes, some of the small-proprietor places have the faults that @KristinaBeana and @grumpymo bemoan, but many do not.

  63. microe says:

    Just to add fuel to the fire. I was in the Beautiful Burbank Media Center this weekend and noticed that Borders Express was closing. After talking to the manager on duty we found out that all Borders Express (think Borders mall stores) are closing.

  64. ChChChacos says:

    Well I just joined the Borders company almost a year ago. They opened a few brand new concept stores across the US with hopes of opening more (I haven’t heard how those ideas are going). I work in one of them. Our store sales haven’t been doing so well and I’ve feared this happening, even though our bookstore is the only one within a 20mile radius. It really is kind of sad. I’ll be upset if I do indeed lose my job.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Things have been going downhill there steadily for over a year. My girlfriend is currently employed at one and they have been constantly cutting down members of staff and working hours. The corporate higher ups have been in jumbles too for a long time and it seems that every few months a new desperate initiative is started to try to boost sales. Another problem they have is theft. People walk into the store, take a rack of CD’s / DVD’s and walk right out with the alarms going off. No one is allowed to stop them. Oh, and as a bonus to that, the guy who was on staff as anti theft was robbing the company blind with his corporate credit card and eventually got canned for it. Same thing is going on right now with one of the managers but she hasn’t been caught yet. It seems like utter incompetence up and down the line with no clear direction. They’re doomed.

  66. theblackdog says:

    The one time Borders was good for me was when HP: Half Blood Prince came out, they were giving out a 25% off any other item in the store coupon so I used it to buy a rather expensive DVD set.

  67. fencepost says:

    I’ve found that one of the nice things about Borders (vs. the B&N down the street from it) is that they have outlets *and* power strips in their cafe. How many seems to vary by store, but all of the ones I’ve actually looked in at least have outlets. B&N on the other hand generally has none, or possibly one – generally in a location that’s away from tables/chairs.

    I’m not coughing up for the T-Mobile wifi anymore, but sometimes it’s good to be able to sit and code or sit and write with no temptation to get online and waste time with former-gawker sites.

  68. dwarf74 says:

    I hope they don’t go out of business. I’m in a small city that has one Borders and one B&N, and that’s it for bookstores. (Well, apart from a wonderful little used bookstore downtown – but they don’t generally carry books I’m interested in. I’d rather not wait for someone else to get bored/done with a book before I can buy it, unless I am looking for something OOP.)

    Seriously, my wife and I head down to Borders usually once a week or so to browse, drink some coffee or tea, and maybe buy a book or two.

  69. eakwave1 says:

    I would be horribly sad if it goes under! The Borders Cafe in my town has great drinks, plus the staff is awesome- way better than any Starbucks-type place. We go there 2-4 times a week for coffee, browsing, and a chat with the baristas. Please save the Pleasanton, CA Borders!

  70. Mary says:

    I used to do the reports for my store about what bills were and weren’t paid. It was a monthly report that showed which invoices were just being processed.

    I also did the orders from different sellers who would refuse to sell to Borders without payment up front, or minimum amounts of orders, or just outright wouldn’t sell to our store.

    I’ll just say that Borders not paying their bills is not news to me, at all. It’s really not a new situation for them, I stopped working there almost two years ago.

    I’m trying to be sad to see them go, but after they also refused to pay me the vacation payout that they owed me until I was talking about calling a lawyer, I can’t say that I’m so upset over it. Not to mention that everything that I loved about their store and disliked about B&N went out the window before I quit.

  71. Anonymous says:

    When there’s only three major chains in the book industry (Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Amazon), it’s not good for the consumer to see any of them go out of business.

    It means fewer choices for the consumer and it means that the remaining two book chains will be able to dictate draconian terms that favor them, because the publishers won’t have a choice: either sell to them on their terms, or don’t sell at all.

    Imagine if you only had three restaurants in town, and one goes out of business: the remaining two could jack up the prices or dictate terms to local suppliers or … you get the picture. And it’s a grim one.

    Fewer choices for the consumer, in the end, hurts all of us.

  72. synergy says:

    Aw man! That sucks! I like Borders. They have a better selection than Barnes & Noble and I don’t have to smell the nasty stench of coffee. :(

  73. fatcop says:

    E-books FTW.

  74. Anonymous says:

    Borders is only downsizing CDs & DVDs in under-performing stores. The stores in the worst categories will only carry 100 titles. Those in the next category may have up to 1000 titles and the best stores will not see any cuts. The situation is not a bleak as some paint it.

  75. HogwartsAlum says:

    Our city has B&N, Borders and lots of other booksellers (mostly used, some new). The new ones tend not to have what I’m looking for, though.

    My favorite is a used bookstore in a strip mall on the corner of a big busy street that is like a large closet, has no windows and only takes cash. Every time I go in there I find a ton of stuff.

  76. Rob Mattheu says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about this. I don’t dislike Borders, and there are several close to me. But we still have a couple of B&N’s, Books A Million, and Half Price Books.

  77. Anonymous says:

    That would be a shame, and a big blow to the genre I read – manga. Borders has always gone after that market, as did Waldenbooks. B&N is okay but they’re super-slow about getting anything. Indies won’t carry manga unless it’s a huge indie, and don’t get me started on the direct market (comic book shops) – very hit or miss, and more miss than anything these days. Yeah, I can shop online, and I do for 80% of what I buy monthly.

    But when I’ve been waiting for the next volume forever of a favorite series… I want it NOW and will track it on Border’s online site to find which store has my book.

    I won’t miss the manga cows; I will miss being able to get most anything I want when I want it.

  78. arilvdc says:

    My friend who works for Borders warned me of this at the beginning of the semester. It seems like their store has been having meetings about “what might happen” every week now.

  79. glater says:

    I actually *do* kind of feel crappy about Borders going under. I hope they survive as a leaner, fitter entity. So far as big chains go they’ve always been pretty reliable to me, and not horribly priced. I’ve been in a few crappy ones – the “express” ones in malls are terrible – but I’ve also been in some really good ones with selection I just can’t get anywhere else but online.

    I buy books from amazon a lot, but browsing online just isn’t as fulfilling as going out to a real store, holding real books, sitting down and paging through them with a tasty beverage at hand and “previewing” as much as you damn well please without DRM restrictions and weird software and crappy interfaces and… blaaah.

    I would never have found quite a few books that I really, really like without a big store with the financial backing to stock stuff that The Masses aren’t going to purchase in the great swaths that look good on monthly ledgers. The Emeryville, CA store, for example, provided me with some of the best non-fiction and academic texts that I just can’t find elsewhere.

    There’s a reason that lots of indy stores go down – they tend to stock crap that sells quick. Their selection is limited and often uninspired – unless they deal in used books, in which case they can be real goldmines.

    Borders, meanwhile, seems to let stores have a little play with their choices to keep them matched to local tastes. Even if they don’t sell out the shelves, people will keep coming back and finding new and interesting stuff a piece at a time, in a manner that a small shop just can’t afford to devote shelf space to.

    B&N, on the other hand… is boring and repetitive. Ugh.

  80. Alessar says:

    I’m on their mailing list and I just got a flyer advertising CD & DVD clearance. There is a list of exceptions but looking at it, I am guessing it is stores that are small and don’t carry much of those products to begin with. I’m in Ann Arbor, work near the “main/original” Borders, and none of the 3 locations in town are excluded from this clearance. One of those 3 locations is a special “media” oriented store, too.

  81. Anonymous says:

    I would miss Borders if they go under. I have both B&N and Borders within 10 minutes of my house and as an avid reader, I spend a lot of time at both. Sure we can order books online, but there’s nothing like spending some time in a bookstore just browsing and then finding that special book.

    Borders going under will also suck for Sumner Redstone who owns National Amusements (Showcase Cinema) and interest in Viacom. Redstone’s National Amusement headquarters is here in Dedham, MA and they knocked down their movie theater and are putting a upscale shopping center called Legacy Place and new offices at the location. One of the anchor stores is Borders! 80% of the Borders building is built, at least the outside and is suppose to open this summer. Would suck to open a new upscale place and have a giant store empty!

  82. battra92 says:

    Nooo. I <3 Borders very much and I’d be sad to see them go.

    I miss Waldens.

  83. deadspork says:

    I would spend a lot of time there studying (and therefore a lot of money on coffee) if their wifi was free. They could make probably $12 a visit off me just in coffee (I stay a while, to be honest) if they were willing to front the maybe $30 (or so) a month they spend on cable. I think this might be true for a lot of college students.

  84. Anonymous says:

    I work at a Borders Store (I am not a manager) and I can tell you that some of the customers are taking advantage of the book chain and will not realize how much they miss it until they are gone. Instant gratification is what most customers want so when a person wants or NEEDS a book right away I guess you’ll have to wait until the Fed Ex or UPS person delivers your package. Remember, not everyone has a computer or wants to order online for security reasons.
    Also, we get paid very little yet are expected to satisy every customers personal need. Right now they are drastically cutting our hours and we cannot possibly help each customer personally. So next time you want 40% off a book you can get THAT DAY and then complain that no one was there to escort you to the exact location think about how you’ll never experience a bookstore again when/if Borders closes. I guess you’ll have to pay extra for speedy shipping or try get on a waiting list at the library.
    We try our best everyday but people don’t realize what they’ve got until it’s gone. Oh, and EVERYTHING is cheaper online because you are not paying for overhead. Durr! So when a ton of us are out of work don’t expect us to come to your places of employment and buy anything because we will be broke. Then where will your job go?

  85. Anonymous says:

    Borders is also trying to screw its 700 recenlty fired employees out of their pitifully small slice of the Stimulus Package which provides a 65% discount on cobra payments for those fired during the economic crisis. Sweet!

    But Borders is claiming (falsely) that ALL 700 “voluntarily resigned” so they can’t get Stimulus help. Nice job, Borders! Kick any puppies lately?

  86. NightingaleJen says:

    This has been going on with Border’s for some time. Their financial troubles have long been recent business-section fare in Michigan, to the best of my recollection.

    Please, federal government, do not bail Border’s out. If I wanted them to succeed I’d shop there.

  87. Anonymous says:

    Here in Levitown N.Y, we had a Waldenbooks open in 1985. Boarders came to Levitown around 1990. Since Borders and Waldenbooks were owned by the same company, They closed Waldenbooks and became the only bookstore in town. 6 years later Boarders moved out and we were left with no bookstores, because the store wasn’t big enough the sell Dvd’s and Cd’s It’s payback that Boarders might be closing. I now shop on Amazon

  88. legolasfan411 says:

    In general I think books are still way too expensive, I guess it could be compared to a lot of people who think it’s too expensive to rent movies. But in my case I can easily go through a few books a week, and at anywhere from $10-$15 each, it adds up really fast, thats why more and more people are going to the library for books now rather then to Barnes and Noble and Borders. Not to mention both stores CD and DVD’s are hugely marked up, even with the 20% off they give you your still paying more then you would at a store like Best Buy or Walmart or any other retail store. It’s also a reason a lot of FYE stores are closing. They are great for finding things you need like rare music and movies, but everything else is way overpriced, and no one can afford it anymore.