Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Borders lists closing stores, assures ‘normal’ business

Borders

Retailing | Struggling bookseller Borders Group, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, told shaken publishers it’s developing a long-term plan to “reposition itself,” even as it released a list of some 200 stores set to close by the end of April. The closings include 35 locations in California and 15 in metropolitan Chicago. On a website dedicated to the reorganization, the retailer — the second-largest book chain in the United States — assures customers that “Borders’ Business Operations Continue As Normal.”

In its bankruptcy filing, the company listed $1.29 billion in debt and $1.27 billion in assets. It owes $272 million to its 30 largest unsecured creditors, including $41.1 million to Penguin Group. Diamond Book Publishers, which stopped shipping to Borders last month, is on the hook for $3.9 million. [The New York Times]

Retailing | Meanwhile, REDgroup Retail, which owns the Australian booksellers Borders (owned independently of the U.S. chain) and Angus & Robertson, has entered into administration. Angus & Robertson is the country’s largest book chain, with more than 180 stores nationwide. [The Australian, Guardian]

Retailing | Cartoonist and publisher Dylan Williams, who once worked at Comic Relief in Berkeley, Calif., writes at length about the store’s closing. [Sparkplug Comic Books, via The Comics Reporter]

Essex County, Vol. 1

Awards | National Post book editor Mark Medley talks with Darwyn Cooke, Christopher Butcher and Jeet Heer about the speedy dismissal of Jeff Lemire’s Essex County from Canada Reads judges perplexed by its “lack of words.” “As several jurors spoke, it was clear that their number one criteria for disqualifying Essex County was … the number of words,” Cooke said. “They actually said the book didn’t have enough words to qualify as a book. Travis remarked on the word count and I was blind-sided by the fact that these people seemed unaware that every panel of that book is supported by a script filled with words-the words necessary to create and execute entire panels or scenes without any visible writing. The very process by which such a book is created was unknown to them. Particularly disappointing was Ali Velshi. Considering this cat spends his entire life reading American news off a teleprompter in Atlanta, he might have noticed that Time magazine’s book of the year was a graphic novel … FOUR YEARS AGO.” [Afterword]

Conventions | Ammu Kannampilly previews the first Indian Comic Con, being held this weekend in New Delhi, with a snapshot of the country’s comics industry. [Agence France-Presse]

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Comments

13 Comments

I wonder if the stock at the closing Borders stores will be liquidated or transferred to store remaining open. As sad as this turn of event is, it could be a great opportunity to get some great reads at great prices.

The liquidators for Borders will be a professional firm that won’t be giving out “fire-sale” prices, so forget about big bargains. However it is a good time to make those deferred purchases to show support for your local Borders and its staff.

Wow…the death knell of a major bookstore. First it was bye-bye record stores, now bookstores. Soon Newspapers to follow.

RE: Borders assures customers that “Borders’ Business Operations Continue As Normal.”

I think I speak for the free world when I say, “Yeah. Right.”

@oy:

Newspapers have been on life support for more than a decade. As soon as more people have mobile tablet devices capable of downloading content like TheDaily, the newspaper business–much like newspapers themselves in a strong wind–will just dry up and fly away.

oy, you forgot video/dvd rental stores! :-O

…and Times Square peep shows! :(

I doubt Border’s stock will be liquidated or transferred to other stores. Book market is returnable, most likely stock will simply be returned to publishers.

I feel bad for all the “Mom and Pop” bookstores Borders drove out of business. Now some of us don’t have any local bookstores.
And yeah, I know about Amazon.com, but nothing can take the place of going to a store and actually flipping through the book before buying it.

I think the way to look at potential liquidation or transfer of stock is the way that they went with stores in 2010 when they closed many of the Waldenbooks locations in malls. Those stores did go through liquidation and at least at my local center, we’re down to like 75 percent off by the end……of course, basically anything good was gone by then.

Once I knew they were filing bankruptcy, I made sure to use up the last of my Borders gift cards.
I always HATED shopping there.
Paying full price for obviously manhandled bookshelf stock just rubs me the wrong way.
Even using “free” money from a gift card for a full price item just seemed like a waste.

*mild rant follows*

I kept asking myself, in this day and age of digital media and the availability of DISCOUNTED books from almost any other outlet, how did they stay in business?
I guess the answer is: barely.

Over a decade ago, I had worked for a great mom and pop book shoppe (BonMark Books – in Plainview, Long Island, NY) which sold all sorts of books: New, used, antiquarian,1st editions, collectibles, reference, etc… and assorted COMICS stuff as well. (Heck, we even hosted ‘Magic : the Gathering’ tournaments after hours. Parents and kids loved that.)

Well… ONE of the reasons BonMark eventually went belly-up was the over-saturation of many giant book stores like Borders. All of a sudden there was a great influx of giant chain book stores. Every mall or shopping strip had one. It was nuts!

We gave attentive, personal customer service and knew the names and tastes of most of our clientele.
Borders had a lounge to read books for free and an espresso bar to eat sticky buns and gunk up the books before putting them back on the shelves.

If we didn’t have a book in stock (which was infrequent) we could special order it and have it to you in a few days, calling you to let you know it had arrived, holding it aside for you and discounting the sale price..
Borders was HUGE and probably had what you wanted right there.
They also have a web-site to order from and WERE, for a time, aligned with Amazon to increase their online stock, so you’d never have to leave your house.

We discounted books – usually 20% – 30% (or more on occasion).
Borders charges full price (although, I think they may have discounted at the time – especially if purchased via the Amazon link-up. But once they severed their ties with Amazon – in 2006, (?), the discounts went away).

So… I can sort of see how big chain stores would win out in the short term.
They could provide quantity.
Books, CDs, Movies, etc… and LOTS of them.
But, in my experience, they have never provided quality customer service or a relationship with its customers like a small shoppe could.

I didn’t make much money at the old book store, but it was one of the best jobs I ever had.

While I do feel deeply for the workers who will be out of jobs, I won’t miss Borders.
Unless they discount their (impressive) stock of books, music and movies, I don’t see them lasting in the long run.

~P~

Oh… AND the old mom and pop shoppe even bought BACK your gently-used books, for either cash or store credit.
So, some people would use the credit and get books, and sell those back to us again to get more.

The store made a slight profit, the customer got some great deals!
Win – Win!

Let’s see a big chain store do that.

~P~

Don’t be so sure on the no discounts. When they closed a few stores last summer, one of them (Highland Park, IL) had everything 30% off within weeks. Crazy thing was, for at least a week or two, they still got new stock. I purchased Flash: Rebirth for 30% the week it came out. So while it’s bad that they’re going out of business, I do relish the opportunity to buy stuff at a discounted price. I only buy trades, and it’s always from either Half Price Books, at conventions, or much less frequently, Borders.

Many Borders stores slashed their CD/DVD stock a few years ago (at least one location I know of ditched their music section completely) and they discounted all sorts of titles, at really great prices (normally, I wouldn’t buy their overpriced music and movies).

I don’t think everything’s returnable, and if they can sell something for even slightly more than what they’d get back in return they’ll probably do that.

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