sadbook2.jpgAccording to Bloomberg, Borders is inching towards bankruptcy, to the surprise of no one. They are looking to file next week and close as many as 150 stores along the way.


On our own reconnaissance mission, we went to the Borders nearest us on Second Avenue to check out conditions on the ground. There was a bit of a hush in the store — possibly of the pre-ice storm variety — and employees were standing around talking in hushed tones — what COULD they have been talking about.

We happened to look at the GN section of our local store — it was good sized, taking up both sides of two full-sized aisle racks. Every publisher was represented, but Viz, Marvel and DC probably more than anyone. (Yen and TokyoPop as well on the manga side — and even MIA publishers like DMP.)

Since all three publishers have mainstream book distributors — Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Random House, respectively — they would perhaps be in a better position to weather the returns and lost revenue. Maybe.

Personally speaking, we’d be very very sad if our Borders closed. It’s got a Seattle Best Coffee inside and free Wi-Fi, and whenever we need a book, it’s where we go. It’s been a part of life in the nabe for a decade…but increasingly less so, alas.


  1. I never went to Borders that much as it was always out of the way compared to B&N. That said I feel a personal connection by this story cause the CEO who led Borders to the verge of bankruptcy, (but left before any actual filing took place obviously) went to my former company where he oversaw the layoffs that ended my 25 year career with said company, before he was shown the door a few months later and the next CEO filed for bankruptcy there. It’s all part of the circle of life, (and to be entirely fair my former company was troubled before said CEO took power, but he obviously didn’t help the situation in his brief tenure there).

  2. Pretty much bad news for everyone, except possibly Barnes & Noble and Amazon. But honestly, I imagine Barnes & Noble is breathing a sigh of relief it wasn’t them and counting their days.

    Brick and mortar stores for entertainment that can easily be digitized (although nothing beats an actual book for me) are an endangered species.

  3. I visited the Columbus Circle store a few weeks ago, when this recent saga started. Way too many calendars on clearance, but the store was full (probably because of the Lincoln Center B&N closing).

    They had a graphic novel promotion going on, and a huge section, about six floor-to-ceiling bays.

    The employees have been taking it on the chin for a few years now. The Used Books Blog has numerous “veterans” describing what’s been happening the past three years.

  4. The question of course is if the stores fold entirely, or if Borders continues in some form resembling the current one (that is, one which buys lots of trades and OGNs).

    I’d imagine there have to be some stores that make a profit. Hopefully they won’t have to be sold off to pay for any debts outstanding from the money-losing ones.

  5. The calendars always go on clearance at the beginning of a year at both Border’s and B&N.

    My favorite independent bookstore in St. Louis, Library Ltd, was bought by Borders, then they moved it, and now it will probably close. It’s hard to reconcile my love for Amazon and wanting to keep the brick and mortars around.

  6. Yes, calendars always go on clearance, they are non-returnable product (mostly). But most calendar sales are cyclical… you know how many of each type will sell, based on past years. Borders was stuck with a lot of stock this year. While at the Union Square B&N, there were a few tables of wall calendars and a hutch of desk calendars.

    (I managed the calendar section at the Lincoln Center B&N for two years, so I know how challenging it can be.)