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Posted on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 8:54 a.m.

Borders, Books-A-Million fail to reach deal to save 30 stores

By Nathan Bomey


Liquidation sales started Friday at all 399 Borders stores.

Angela J. Cesere |

Ann Arbor-based Borders Group Inc.'s hopes of selling 30 store leases to Books-A-Million Inc. collapsed Monday night, meaning that all of the chain's 399 stores will close.

Borders liquidating

Alabama-based Books-A-Million had initiated late-stage discussions with Borders about acquiring 30 leases from the 399 stores Borders is liquidating.

But those talks fell apart, Books-A-Million CEO Clyde B. Anderson said in a statement late Monday. The parties had estimated that 1,000 to 1,500 jobs could be saved if a deal was completed.

“We worked exhaustively in an effort to acquire these stores and reach agreements with all of the parties whose consent was necessary," Anderson said. "Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful."

Of the 30 leases, none were in the Ann Arbor area. The flagship store in downtown Ann Arbor and the superstore on Lohr Road in Pittsfield Township have already started liquidation sales.

The collapse of negotiations between the two chains means that all Borders stores will close by September, although liquidators suggested the process could be completed sooner.

DJM Realty, a unit of liquidator Gordon Brothers Group LLC, plans to auction off the Borders leases.

Borders, founded in Ann Arbor 40 years ago, had 10,700 employees and 399 stores when it announced July 18 that it would enter liquidation. The company still hopes to sell off certain assets, including the Borders brand and website.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.


Wolf's Bane

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 11:45 a.m.

Is it true that remaining Border's stock will be shredded and turned into insulation, including hardcover books, gift wrap, etc.? Because I can think of about a million good reasons why these books should be donated instead.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

I did not hear that one. I sure hope books are donated to RIF or a other good worthy causes. Wow. Another Fahrenheit 451? I shudder at the thought.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.

Books-a-Million is good! I shop there often when in Florida. Good prices.

Elaine F. Owsley

Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 7:55 p.m.

Oh, heaven's, don't at least spare something - especially the jobs. What could have been the sticking point?


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 11:30 a.m.

Likely less money than the liquidators expect to get.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

What sort of compensation will the CEO of Border's be receiving ? Would be a nice gesture to divide up the $$$ (Millions???) he will walk away with among those LOYAL employees that will soon be without a job wouldn't it?


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

From todays edition of "The Monroe Evening News"... "Books-A-Million, America's third-largest book retailer, will open at the Mall of Monroe this year. The bookstore will open before the holiday season in the 2,290-square-foot space now occupied by Waldenbooks, according to a press release. Waldenbooks is closing due to the bankruptcy and liquidation of Borders Group Inc., its owner." Despite the fact that Borders didn't want to sell 30+ stores to this company, it appears we may soon be seeing the Books-A-Million stores moving into the area. Maybe, they will even rent the State St. location.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.

This has to have been the most poorly managed "fire sale" and hasty rush to liquidation in history. I have to question whether or not saving the bookstore chain and jobs was ever as high a priority for the beancounters in the Executive Suite, and the bankruptcy lawyers, as cashing in themselves. I'd be interested to see how much was spent on executive compensation over the past year; clearly it wasn't tied to maintaining the name and chain as a going concern. It seems ridiculous that the sale of the chain was handled as an all-or-nothing proposition with no allowance for selling intact stores or groups of stores once liquidation became a reality; the chain has been bleeding money for years, so it would not have been unreasonable to allow a week for bidders like Books-A-Million to step forward before starting liquidation sales at the stores that there was no interest in, and allow those potential buyers a couple weeks to negotiate purchase agreements as those stores operate as usual. Obviously, an operating bookstore has a lot more value to someone like Barnes & Noble, who can just swap the signage and rotate in their own stock, and gradually remodel, instead of starting with no regular customers, an empty shell, and all new staff that needs to be trained from scratch. Even the Borders name might have had some value to someone interested in, say, the downtown A2 store.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

I sincerely hope that a "hard goods" business will eventually occupy the Borders store on State St. The last thing Ann Arbor needs is another coffee shop or restaurant.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 7:19 a.m.

I disagree - if you eat out semi-regularly as my husband and I do, you want variety. Just how many times can you go to Connor O'Neills,etc. and how many times can you afford to go to Chop House? We need good restaurants and plenty of them. I don't see empty tables on weekends or necessarily on weekdays in AA - just the opposite. We usually wait if we don't have a reservation. If I were living downtown I guess I would crave some basic stores, but there are only so many places to live affordably downtown too. Most of us just go to Meijer for full service purchases.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 12:56 a.m.

I will second this post. There is already a second hand bookstore just down the street you can get a great book, for half the price and use what you saved to pay the price of an expensive cup of coffee. I swear the second hand book store has out weathered any store on Liberty. Good luck to the unemployed. I am already there.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

Do I EVER agree!