Borders Bites The Dust

There goes another nearly 11,000 jobs

Borders Group Inc. said it would liquidate after the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain failed to receive any offers to save it.

Borders, which employs about 10,700 people, scrapped a bankruptcy-court auction scheduled for Tuesday amid the dearth of bids. It said it would ask a judge Thursday to approve a sale to liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group.

The company said liquidation of its remaining 399 stores could start as soon as Friday, and it is expected to go out of business for good by the end of September.

How’s that Recovery Summer working out?

13 Responses to “Borders Bites The Dust”

  1. Rob says:

    Apparently, they weren’t big enough to be too big to fail.

  2. John says:

    Meh. This is part of a long-running revision of the music and literary publishing business models. Borders never moved with the times. The B&N Nook is keeping htem relevant, but Borders has lousy selection, a huge amount of wasted space in its stores, and spends far too much shelf space on CDs that no one buys (also a failure to follow the iTunes trend). Their children’s section sucks, too, and after a recent re-org of our local store, it sucks even worse – and that’s one of the main reasons to go into a bricks and mortar bookstore.

    If they’d concentrated on keeping physical copies of interesting books on the shelf, things might have turned out different, but instead of finding their niche, they still tried to be everything to everyone and became nothing to anyone.

    Long story short, while this doesn’t help the economy any, it really has nothing to do with the recovery or lack thereof. Most of their jobs were low-paying work for C students with General Studies or English degrees, and they were headed south long before the financial crisis hit. Even in good times, only a moron would buy a bricks and mortar bookstore that has such a small online and e-reader presence.

  3. nightfly says:

    John, that’s as may be, but I’m not really impressed with “they were low-paying jobs anyway.” They were jobs and they were helping a lot of working students pay their way in the world. It was jobs like these that kept me from starving to death in my 20s. And I’m sure that for them it beat hustling for tips in a TGI Friday’s.

    In normal times, those kids would find someplace else. Now what are they going to do?

  4. Kate P says:

    Borders did their best to try to evolve but I think it was too little too late. John said, “If they’d concentrated on keeping physical copies of interesting books on the shelf”–Let’s face it: bookstores have been treated like libraries for years now–people read the books and put them back on the shelves (in the wrong spot, if at all, I might add). I worked at a bookstore while student teaching and finishing up my master’s.
    I’d guess that bookstores sell more coffee drinks than books, and now many libraries are getting coffee machines–I hope libraries continue to observe the lessons here and are able to enact some things to add to their services so people will notice and up the traffic.

  5. Greg Newson says:

    People under 40 don’t read books anymore.It’s all about
    the internet.
    It’s like the movie the ‘Time Machine’,where they spun the rings and watched the videos,while the books rotted on the shelves.But, the morlocks came out from the underground and ate their flesh.HG Wells was way ahead of his time.

  6. Kate P says:

    Watch those blanket statements. People under 40 read books. I think the average age of my book club is under 40. But buying books is another story.

  7. John says:

    Fly, it certainly sucks for the employees involved. But I’m generally a free market kind of guy, and this is the downside. I own up to it as the downside of my philosophy – poor businesses fail – and with them goes jobs, sometimes at the worst possible time. The downside of a non-free market approach is worse than this kind of pain in my opinion, though, which is why I trend to a certain kind of politics.

    I’m one of the first to call this administration for its stupidities, but to be fair to them, this is an unfortunate coincidence.

  8. Mr. Bingley says:

    I agree, John. They had a poor model and failed to adapt; no blame to this administration there.

    But as ‘Fly alludes to you can hold the DC Elite to task for the fact that there’s no place for these folks to go now.

    Except the dole.

  9. Mr. Bingley says:

    Kate, I tell you all I see are folks with Kindles these days. Fewer and fewer people are buying physical books.

  10. Rob says:

    That’s exactly where its going, Mr B. You can carry your whole library in your back pocket.

  11. Kate P says:

    An employee at the indie bookstore through which I have my summer job told me the other day that she heard two people in the store talking where one of them said, “Oh, I look around in here to see what to put on my Kindle.” So, uh, whaddya gonna do when browsing is limited (and directed) by your online reading provider (which we have nowadays with movies, as the video stores are gone)?

    Children’s books are still mostly in the physical realm, and I wonder if or how long it will stay that way. Young children are tactile, right?

  12. Rob says:

    Publishing is not a business I’d want to be in right now. It was already pretty cutthroat with them just competing with each other. Soon, authors, who normally couldn’t get published are going to bypass publishers and flood the market with unedited, unprofessional junk at ridiculously low prices.

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