The nation’s second-largest bookstore has officially gone out of business following a bankruptcy judge’s approval of Borders’ request to liquidate its 399 stores across the U.S.
Customers flowed into Borders stores across the country Friday to take advantage of discounts of up to 40 percent on more than $700 million in merchandise, including books, DVDs and furniture. After the liquidation sales end in September, 10,700 Borders employees nationwide will lose their jobs, the L.A. Times reports.
“This marks the end of an era, and we thank our customers for their patronage over our 40-year history,” Mike Edwards, president of the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based bookseller, said in a statement.
Borders’ downfall was widely blamed on being flat footed during the growth of the digital reader industry and struggling under stiff competition from warehouse retailers like Amazon that undercut its prices. During the 1980s and 1990s, Borders flourished while helping to pioneer the book superstore. But then the industry shifted. Just six years ago, it had 1,200 bookstores. Today is has 399.
Borders, which started out as a used bookstore in Ann Arbor in 1971, filed for bankruptcy in February. Until last week, it looked as though the bookseller may be able to stay in business. But then its unsecured creditors rejected a $215.1-million buyout bid from Najafi Cos. in Phoenix.
A last minute deal to sell 35 stores to Books-A-Million, which operates in the Southeast, is still being negotiated. If it goes though, the acquisition could save more than 1,000 jobs, Borders attorney Andrew Glenn told The Star-Ledger.
With Borders’ closing, customers will have fewer brick-and-mortar places to frequent for browsing and purchasing books. Publishers will also lose a major avenue for promoting its new books. With Borders out of the picture, business at Barnes & Noble may see an uptick.