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Posted on Mon, Jul 18, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.

Read Borders CEO Mike Edwards' letter to employees announcing liquidation

By Nathan Bomey

Borders President Mike Edwards , CEO of the company's bookstore unit, wrote this letter to employees today, announcing the company's plans to liquidate starting as soon as Friday:


Borders CEO Mike Edwards

Melanie Maxwell |

Good afternoon,

I wanted to reach out to you and give you an update on Borders’ reorganization process. As you know, last week we submitted a proposal from Hilco and Gordon Brothers as the stalking horse bid, which set the minimum bid requirement for the auction.

Following continued negotiations and the best efforts from all parties, no bidders have presented a formal proposal to keep our company operating as a going concern. Therefore, under the terms of our DIP financing agreement, we intend to present to the court for approval the proposal from Hilco and Gordon Brothers, under which these two companies will purchase our stores’ assets and administer the liquidation process. We will submit this proposal at a hearing scheduled for Thursday, July 21, and we will not proceed with the auction originally scheduled for tomorrow, July 19.

All of us have been working hard towards a different outcome, and I wish I had better news to report to you today. The truth is that Borders has been facing headwinds for quite some time, including a rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution, and turbulent economy. We put in a valiant fight, but regrettably in the end we weren’t able to overcome these external forces.

For decades, our stores have been destinations within our communities - places where people have sought knowledge, entertainment, and enlightenment and connected with others who share their passion. Whether you work in our stores, distribution centers, or at the Store Support Center in Ann Arbor, each of you has played a valuable role in helping ignite the love of reading in our customers. Together, Borders and Waldenbooks associates have helped millions of people discover new books, music, and movies, and I hope you’ll take pride in the role we’ve played in our customers’ lives.

Borders liquidating

Now we must begin switching gears and preparing for the wind-down process, which we expect to begin for stores as soon as this Friday, July 22 and conclude by the end of September. Wind-down will begin in phases in other areas, such as our Store Support Center and distribution centers, over the next week. Please know that we are committed to sharing information with you as quickly as possible. To that end, you should expect to hear from your manager by the end of this week with details regarding separation information, severance, benefits, and other resources for employees. You have my assurance that we will do whatever we can to help our employees through this transition.

In closing, I’d like to express how much I appreciate each and every one of you and all that you’ve done. The last few months have been stressful, uncertain times, but you’ve stood by Borders and have continued to impress me with your dedication, resilience, and strong drive to fight until the very end to save our company. Whether you’ve been with Borders for a few months or several years, I hope you know how much I value you and all that you’ve contributed. The coming weeks will be difficult as we wind down operations, but I hope you’ll continue to hold your head high. You’ve done me proud and, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

- Mike



Fri, Jul 29, 2011 : 1:43 a.m.

ask borders employees (especially the full-timers) if they are getting severance packages after working through the store liquidation. ask them if they've been invited to attend the job fair at the headquarters for corporate employees who are, by the way, getting severance pay. ask them if they have been rewarded for following the most urgent directives that were going to save the company. ask them if they feel as valued as mike expresses in his letter. mike, your words seem heartfelt but they ring hollow. where was the love?


Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

dae, have you tried one of the new e-readers? It's definitely not like staring at a computer screen. Not only will more readers prefer e-books as e-readers continue to get better, but lots of things will only be available in e-book format. Recently, for example, I published a couple of special-interest books in both the Amazon Kindle format and the B&N Nook format. I will not be making them available in print format. I'm not alone in this.


Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 2:59 p.m.

Not to mention price. I think the fact that a $100 book can be bought for $15 in pfd format to be viewed on a tablet will change a lot of folks minds.

Snehal Shah

Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

Mike Edwards, I am really surprised at your audactiy to write this letter. You are a total failure and a loser as a CEO. And I can only wish that you have an opportunity to lose a job like a common person and get in line for unemployment as thousands will do due to your incapacity to steer a company. You will get millions when you are kicked out as a CEO but remember those millions will not have any good feelings from anybody. You mentioned in your letter that "The truth is that Borders has been facing headwinds for quite some time, including a rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution, and turbulent economy. We put in a valiant fight, but regrettably in the end we weren't able to overcome these external forces. " I have seen any fight - valiant or not. Do not blame external forces to cover up your inability to cope up with changes. I only hope that no other company will hire you and meet the same doom as you brought to Borders. If you have any self-respect, you should apologize for your mishandling of the company in public. Let's see if you got any spine yet.

Snehal Shah

Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

Really? What was Mike Edwards hired for then? And you mean that CEO is not ultimately responsible fo rthe success or failure of a company? Then why are they paid millions? Any bad decisions can be reversed and any new decisions can be taken and steer the company towards success, which Mike failed to do. I do not agree to your assertion that Mike Edwards could not have done anything better. Analyzing Border's graph, I certainly think Mike Edwards was a total failure as a CEO.


Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

Dude, It is a business. It is not a family member. Nobody died. Businesses come and go every day. The entire blame for Borders demise can not be at the feet of Mike Edwards. There were decisions that date back to the late 90's that were before Mr Edwards had anything to do with the company. He never was CEO during unsustainable expansion, over seas expansion, failure to recognize e-readers, failure to bring a viable e-commerce site, were all things inherited. If you think Mike Edwards is responsible for the demise of Borders you are living in a fantasy world

Dr. I. Emsayin

Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 2:55 a.m.

Many thanks to Border's professional employees who always helped the customes, never complained in public, are highly educated, and who made the stores the wonderful places to shop and learn. Border's has been like a library to many, probably part of the reason for its demise. It was always a comfortable place to browse and for many years a place where one could find interesting and hard to find books on obscure topics. Wishing a quick job recovery for those losing their jobs with Border's.


Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 2:33 a.m.

The worst part is the lost of jobs. I'm not into the eReader/eBook business. I want the book in my hand, not stare at a screen all day. I can do that at work all day! Unfortunately, it seems like the economy and the next best thing has taken out another business. Good Luck to all of Borders' employees.

Left is Right

Tue, Jul 19, 2011 : 2:13 a.m.

Sad end to a story I saw from the beginning. While it's always tempting to blamestorm, it really was a good run. For so many years Borders defined what a bookstore should be. No shame in that at all.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Jul 18, 2011 : 11:07 p.m.

It did fine until K-Mart took over. Blue lights and reading aren't a great combination. I do have fond memories of visiting the State St. store when I was in high school. I wonder what the market holds for ebooks. Right now, 10-15% of readers prefer ebooks. That's not enough to kill off brick-and-mortar stores, unless they are very badly managed. If that reaches 50%, I don't see how Barnes & Noble survives.


Mon, Jul 18, 2011 : 10:47 p.m.

I never liked the store more than when it was on State Street. Too bad they got infected with the growth bug and heard the siren song of Wall Street.