Borders bookstore closing: Customers saddened by announcement
Borders bookstore customers expressed shock and disappointment Tuesday that the 40-year-old book giant was closing its doors nationwide, and some blamed electronics.
“It’s sadness,” said David Beck of Gardnerville. “I spend a lot of money at Amazon.com, but it’s sad to see that they forced (Borders) out of business. I still come by all the time because it’s a good place to browse. Now there are no bookstores left in this area.”
Signs posted at the front entrance of the Topsy Lane store confirmed the disappointment of employees, as well as customers.
“Yes, we are sad to say it’s true. It was announced to us as well as the media on Monday afternoon. Borders’ entire chain is closing, due to publishers on the the creditors’ committee not reaching an agreement with the potential buyer – 11,000 of us across the country will lose our jobs,” it said in part.
“We are, of course, as hearbroken as many of you are. We believed and hoped things would be resolved in the bankruptcy court before it came to this. We have loved working here,” the notice said.
Another customer, who was on her second trip to her car with bags full of books, said the closure is a big loss to the community.
“I’m so sad. It’s the only bookstore we’ve got. Now we’ll have to go to Reno,” said Ellen West of Minden.
“I’m a retired counselor from Bordewich-Bray Elementary, so I love books. I ran into some teachers inside stocking up. They always gave teachers a teacher discount. This is especially sad because this is the capital city of the Nevada,” West said.
Albert Torres of Fernley had stopped by the store Tuesday with his family on their way back from Lake Tahoe.
“We usually go to the one in Reno, but anytime a store shuts down, it’s sad. Technology is great, but I’d rather shop for a book and hold a book in my hands any day,” Torres said.
Rosie Lobatto of Lake Tahoe said she felt a little bit guilty.
“I hate to see anything like this happen. You want to be able to buy nice books for your grandchildren, and now I feel bad that I even have a Kindle,” she said. “You hate to see another business closing.”
Paul Hanson said he buys wherever he can get something the cheapest.
“It’s sad about the job loss. I buy books here because they’re cheaper. I guess I’m not a very loyal customer,” Hanson said.
Inside at the information counter, store manager Jill Furedy was visibly upset.
“Obviously, we’re all a bit heartbroken,” Furedy said. “We had a really rough day yesterday because we all thought they were going to get a new owner. Right now, we’re just trying to keep up with customer questions.”
Furedy said the liquidators might be at the store Thursday and Friday to start marking everything down. She said she has talked to people from other Borders’ closures about those sales.
“It sounds like it’s going to be a madhouse. It’s supposed to be like Christmas madness times 12,” she said.
She said the liquidators have confirmed that gift cards will be honored.
“I just hope someone can fill the void of our closing, because I know the community needs a store like this,” Furedy said.
The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based chain, which helped pioneer the big-box bookseller concept, is seeking court approval to liquidate its stores after it failed to receive any bids that would keep it in business. The move adds Borders to the list of retailers that have failed to survive the economic downturn.
Borders is expected to ask a judge to approve a sale to liquidators led by Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group. Liquidation sales could start as soon as Friday if the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York approves the move at a scheduled hearing Thursday. The company is expected to go out of business by the end of September.
Borders’ attempt to stay in business unraveled quickly last week, after a $215 million “white knight” bid by private-equity firm Najafi Cos. dissolved under objections from creditors and lenders. They argued the chain would be worth more if it liquidated immediately.
Simba Information senior trade analyst Michael Norris predicts the closing also could cause sales of electronic books to fall. Borders entered the electronic book market with Canada’s Kobo Inc. last year. Owners of the Kobo e-reader will still be able use Kobo software to buy and read books. And Kobo officials said users of Borders e-book accounts, which began transitioning to Kobo in June, will be able to access their e-books uninterrupted.
Most agree that perhaps the biggest impact of Borders going out of business will be to the consumer.
Barbara Belgard, who recently moved to Carson City from Los Angeles, called the closure “a crime,” as she shopped inside Borders on Tuesday.
“It’s terrible. I thought this was the age of Obama, and that things should have gotten better,” she said. “I watched this happen in L.A. when several Borders branches closed, and it’s sad. I was an English teacher for 36 years, so I’ve been a lifetime Borders customer.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.