The Massive Book Retailer Files for Chapter 11
For months, I have been hearing pundits speculate about the financial health of Borders bookstores. The large book retailer has been dealt a severe blow of a weak economy while trying to stay ahead of its counterparts. Amazon and Barnes and Noble have managed to regenerate their income flow with the Kindle and Nook devices as well as websites that are easy to use. Borders has struggled in this area and it shows—and word came down yesterday that they are going through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize their finances and debt issues.
Borders President and CEO Mike Edwards made sure that he expressed that Borders is still in business with this email that was sent to its legion of customers yesterday:
And despite that, reports have surfaced that many Borders locations across the U.S. are closing as Borders tightens their reigns on spending and budget issues. This means that many Borders retailers in neighborhoods without another bookstore will no longer have a place to go buy books nearby.
The Borders in my area is the closest bookseller to me, so if our location is to close, I will have to go farther for books. Of course, I could always order online but that takes out the joy and fun of going to an actual bookstore with my family to pick out books—to smell the aroma of the ink and paper in the folds, to sit down at the table and read in a book environment—online retailers cannot offer that.
And if a mighty giant like Borders can fail, what does that mean for our smaller bookstores which are institutions in many of our cities? In my city of St. Louis, there are several local bookstores that I enjoy including Left Bank Books. If Borders can go under, I am fearful for the smaller bookstores.
I hope that Borders can rebound for their bankruptcy and remain open in as many locations as they can. Let’s keep our bookstores alive, big and small, by patronizing them and buying books in the store, not just online. If not, soon, there will be other bookstores that will have to follow Borders’ untimely lead.