Borders Goodbyes and Good Buys

So Borders' announcement last month and again earlier this week, that they had and would continue to miss payments to publishers contingent upon their re-structuring of debt and finding favorable financing, finds me in a bit of a quandary. I'm wondering if they'll be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat one more time, or if these huge after Christmas sales are, in fact, a way for them to liquidate without causing suspicion or panic.

There's no doubt, that if they do survive, they will be a MUCH smaller version of what they are now. Already having closed over 200 Waldenbooks stores, and set to continue closing a number of larger Borders. I wonder if they won't reign themselves in to become a regional chain (like the south-eastern U.S. chain Books-a-Million) rather than maintaining their international status.

Feeling rather cooped up yesterday, we travelled cross town to the Borders which advertised that it would be open New Years Day. When we pulled into the parking lot, it appeared that everyone else had opted to do the same thing.  In a rather large parking lot that very rarely houses more than 10 cars, we had a difficult time finding a spot. And when we went in, the place was hopping. (It almost looked like the Barnes & Noble pre-Christmas).

I was thrilled at the sight until I got into the store and noticed the huge clearance signs, the 50-75% off signs (including 50% off best sellers), and the buy 3 get 1 free signs. Top that off with the 50% off one item coupon they've been sending out every couple of weeks and it certainly looks like they're desperately trying to get rid of stock & bring in sales on a massive scale -- & considering they can't pay their vendors, I'm wondering how willing publishers will be to lend them any future merchandise with which to replenish the stores.

It's concerning, not just for the folks who have jobs through Borders, but also for the smaller publishers (& there employees) who might not survive the whole not-getting-paid or recouping their merchandise thing.

Barnes & Noble might've saved itself from the same fate by sinking its teeth into the e-reader/e-book market - but they're not out of the woods yet either & I'm sure they are paying VERY close attention to every move Borders is making. Borders has posted losses for 4 years straight. Barnes & Noble (brick and mortar stores not BN.com) isn't far behind - they've posted losses for the past two years.

In the mean time, Borders is having some wicked sales.  Yesterday I found a first printing of the 2007 Deluxe Edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (retailed for $65, on clearance for $32, worth about $175), & I used my 50% off coupon to buy Louise Penny's Bury Your Dead for $13. Wanting to throw my support to Borders, I also bought Catherine Fisher's Sapphique (at full price), granted, not a big help, but it's what I could do.

The landscape of the book collecting world is changing - even if you're not a staunch supporter of Borders or the big box bookstores, once they go, we've lost a source not just for books, but for smaller publishers, and author signings.

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