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Posted on Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 8:09 a.m.

Borders bankruptcy: live blog

By Edward Vielmetti

Borders filed for bankruptcy this morning. Here's a live blog of reports and reactions from around the network.

5:00 p.m.

Wrapping up for now.

Two sets of business stories emerge from the day, one the direct impact on Borders stores, and the second the impact on the book publishing industry and the real estate industry.

The store closings are deep and broad, and it's very unusual to see accounts of metro areas that don't have any stores closed; Houston was one market that remained intact, and none of the stores in Maine closed. Otherwise, there's lots of people all around the net saying "they are closing my nearby Borders store".

Publishers and book distributors large and small have been affected by the closings. The ongoing speculation about how much creditors will be expected to recover has only started - one source put it at 25 cents on the dollar. The field of anime and manga publishing looks especially exposed, with a distributor (Diamond Comic) on the list owed almost $4 million.

The real estate industry is still digesting the news, as investors sort through the closing listings and match them up with property holdings. Agree Realty's press release stating that only 5 of their 14 Borders leases were affected was treated favorably by investors. Simon Property Group and General Growth are both expected to weigh in on the bankruptcy court's decision making.

There's lots of nostalgia, mixed with bitterness, on online forums like the Metafilter "Borders Bankrupt" post and the LiveJournal I work at Borders forum. Read Metafilter if you want nostalgia, and LiveJournal for bitterness.

4:15 p.m.

The Wall Street Journal, in a story Borders Owes Long List of Publishers, quotes Jed Lyons of Borders creditor Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. "If publishers are lucky, they'll get back 25 cents on the dollar." Rowman and Littlefield owns the National Book Network, which has $1.96 million in outstanding trade debt with Borders.

4:00 p.m.

Bloomberg has a 5 minute video interview with Simba Research analyst Michael Norris. Norris is Simba’s lead analyst in the trade book publishing market and editor of Simba’s Book Publishing Report newsletter.

Reuters reports that Agree Realty has disclosed the impact of the Borders bankruptcy on their real estate operations. In a press release, they note that five of the company's properties, which generate approximately $2.6 million in annual rents, are scheduled to be shuttered. Agree (NYSE:ADC) up $0.77 to $23.70 at 3:52 p.m. on the news.

3:00 p.m.

Jessica Webster reflects on her time as a music buyer for Borders, and what Borders did right.

2:45 p.m.

Anime News Network notes the bankruptcy, and points out four anime publishers and distributors - Yen Press, Viz Media, Kodansha Comics and Diamond Comic Distributors - that are part of corporate organizations which have substantial outstanding debts at Borders.

2:15 p.m.

The Washington Post has a map of closed stores.

View Borders closings in a full screen map

NPR's Lynn Neary asks Borders In Bankruptcy. Is Your Bookstore Next? She notes that "Borders' bankruptcy filing comes just as many independents are still struggling to survive."

2:00 p.m.

Mediagazer, an aggregator for news about the media industry, has aggregated stories about the Borders bankruptcy.

Via MSNBC, a store closing list (searchable PDF) organized by state, with the names of the shopping centers the stores are located in. (A copy is also on the Ann Arbor Government Documents Repository.)

Chicago is losing nearly half of its Borders stores, according to Chicago Breaking Business.

1:45 p.m.

Retail Traffic magazine looks at the effect of the Borders closing on retail power centers. "The biggest issue is the reliance on big-box tenants—a sector that suffered mightily during the downturn." The article notes that retailers like Old Navy which once would have opened a 20,000 square foot store are now opening 10,000 square foot locations. The Arborland shopping center, where Borders has closed a store, is in the power center format.

1:15 p.m.

Publishers Weekly looks at the store closing list, and notes that seven of the stores that are closing exceed 40,000 square feet.

In its article Borders on the brink in the US, the UK publication The Drum quotes Mike Shatzkin of Idea Logical Co. "I think that there will be a 50% reduction in bricks-and-mortar shelf space for books within five years, and 90% within 10 years. Book stores are going away." The Idea Logical Company "consults to book publishers and their trading partners about the changes engendered by digital transformation to every component of the value chain."

1:00 p.m.

The Austin Statesman: Three stores in Austin, Texas are closing.

Metafilter: Borders Bankrupt. From OolooKitty: As much as I hate to see any bookstore close down, my local Borders really wasn't a bookstore anymore. A few years ago they actually took most of the books off the main floor and put them upstairs; the main floor was reserved for iPhone cases, greeting cards that played music, coffee mugs and cheap plastic gift items. I stopped going there; it was too depressing to walk into a bookstore and not see any books.

Among the creditors of Borders is Diamond Book Distributors, which is owed just over $3.9 million according to court filings. Diamond distributes graphic novels, manga, and comics to Borders, and had stopped shipments to Borders because of non-payment. See The Beat for the financials, and ICv2's story Borders Woes a Blow to Manga for the effect on that part of the book industry.

12:15 p.m.

Hilco Merchant Resources is the organization whose name is on the list of Borders store closings. In a June 2010 Reuters story, Hilco Real Estate Executive Vice President Nina Kampler was quoted as saying that "Walking into a Borders store feels like Circuit City a year before it closed."

All of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Borders stores are closing, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Dr. Egon Spengler, Ghostbusters, 1984: Print is dead. (Youtube clip)

12:00 noon

The Dayton Business Journal reports on store closings in Ohio, noting seven stores to close in the state include the chain's only Dayton location, plus stores in Mason, Columbus, Cincinnati, Mentor and Medina.

The Pittsburgh Business Times notes three store closings in the Pittsburgh area.

The Houston Business Journal says all seven Houston locations are safe, but nine Texas stores will close, with two each in Austin and Dallas, and one each in Plano, Lewisville, Colleyville, Mesquite and Burleson.

11:45 a.m.

The Wall Street Journal has published a store closing spreadsheet, based on court documents.

Shopping Centers Today notes on Twitter that General Growth Properties (GGP) is a landlord for 36 Borders-owned stores, or more than 5% of the retailer’s total store count. The Wall Street Journal notes this in its story Borders Bankruptcy: Headache for Landlords. Simon Group (SPG) and General Growth have both asked the court to be represented in bankruptcy hearings, according to court documents cited by the Journal.

The Dearborn, Michigan Borders is also closing.

11:30 a.m.

Alexandra Petri in the Washington Post, The worst part about the Borders bankruptcy: In a real bookstore, some of the copies are autographed. What are we going to do, have David Sedaris sign our Kindle, like a skateboard?

11:15 a.m.

The local Ann Arbor Arborland Borders will close, but the Lohr Road and downtown Ann Arbor stores are scheduled to stay open. The Arborland store has 22,941 square feet in one of the highest traffic corridors in Ann Arbor.

Store 3 on University Avenue in Madison, Wisconsin is on the closing list. has the AP story but no local details yet.

Store 2 on Kenny Road in Columbus, Ohio is closing, according to the list of Borders store closings. Reviews of the store, collected by Google, were positive in 2005 ("I really like this store itself becuase of its large selection and awesome layout") but negative by 2010 ("Much of the merchendise is overpriced, and they have little else but the newest releases.")

11:00 a.m.

A list of Borders store closings has been published.

E-reads: Borders succumbs, sucking $230 mil of publisher money with it. Richard Curtis writes: The handful of major publishers that have survived the upheavals of the last decade probably have adequate resources to get through this latest one too, but marginal presses that have barely hung on may be sucked under for good.

10:50 a.m.

From Our Borders Rewards programs, including Borders Rewards Plus, remain in effect. Customers can continue to earn and redeem their Rewards in stores and on and they'll also continue receiving coupons. As always, we are honoring gift cards, which can be redeemed in stores and online at

Kobo, which produces the Kobo eReader sold through Borders, reminds readers that their Kobo ebooks are completely safe. The Borders ebook experience is powered by Kobo, an entirely separate company from Borders. Kobo is financially secure and will continue to maintain your ebook library no matter what happens. Kobo is not listed among the top 30 creditors in the Borders bankruptcy filing.

10:30 a.m.

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin reports that a Fresh Market could replace the Fox Point Borders store, quoting a Milwaukee real estate source; the Borders spokeswoman, Mary Davis, declined to provide any details about store closings. A list of store closings is expected to emerge today.

With the bankruptcy filing, the Borders Group stock ticker symbol changes from BGP to BGPIQ. In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, shareholders should expect to be completely wiped out, but for whatever reason the stock is still trading. Stock details at Marketwatch (BGPIQ), Google Finance (BGP), and Yahoo Finance (BGP). Each of those tickers also collects market news.

10:15 a.m.

More big media reaction, for completeness.

The Los Angeles Times quotes Fordham University marketing professor and book industry scholar Albert Greco: "This is not a good day for book retailers, book readers and book publishers." The Chicago Tribune runs the same story; both are sourced from the Associated Press.

The Huffington Post story on the Borders bankruptcy is sourced from Reuters and has accumulated over 150 comments. The Reuters story notes the competitive landscape for ebooks, with Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Apple all looking to gain market dominance.

10:00 a.m.

The bankruptcy petition lists the top 30 creditors, all of whom are owed more than $1 million. The largest of these, with links:

$41.1 million to Penguin Putnam (Penguin Group USA), a division of the London based Pearson.

$36.9 million to Hachette Book Group, a division of the Paris based Hachette.

$33.8 million to Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS Corporation.

$33.5 million to Random House, a division of the German Bertelsmann AG.

$25.8 million to Harper Collins, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

9:40 a.m.

The Borders corporate Twitter account is referring all questions to the Borders Reorganization web site. A message reads: "We are open & our goal is to emerge from the Chapter 11 process as a vibrant destination for books & more for years."

The bankruptcy case is In re Borders Group Inc., 11-10614, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York. The bankruptcy petition, as published by the New York Times, is available on the Ann Arbor Government Documents Repository.

9:23 a.m.

The Borders Group page on Wikipedia is now updated to reference the retailer's bankruptcy.

8:11 a.m.

Early reports from the New York Times and from Bloomberg News are both written from statements by Borders executives and from bankruptcy documents.

The bankruptcy news is the lead on the I work at Borders group blog on Livejournal.

A new web site, Borders Reorganization, has a full set of bankruptcy case information and filings, as well as details for vendors, creditors and customers.

Edward Vielmetti writes for



Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

Stefanie- The character total is 1980. Any other suggetions? Thanks

Stefanie Murray

Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

@AlwaysLate, since you were able to post this comment, I'm wondering if your previous comments were too long -- ? We have a 2,000 character limit on comments.

Linda Diane Feldt

Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

I completely stopped shopping at Borders when they stopped allowing dogs in the store downtown. It has never been convenient again. My dogs always asked to go in (they had treats) and of course once I was there, I always found a few books to buy. I know dog owners are the tiniest fraction of a percent of sales, but that bad policy move was indicative of an overall sense of not really caring as much about customers and service. I've shopped at Borders since they opened, spending thousands and thousands of dollars over the years. Up until the last year. I feel for the people who work there, and as I own a tiny publishing company I'm glad not to be tied to them. And I'm very concerned about how this will affect small publishers and therefore writers. The ramification will be far reaching and immense. For now, I hope everyone will support your local bookstores, and also those small presses.


Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

What's the mood at the downtown (ex-Jacobson's) store? I'm out of town...


Wed, Feb 16, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

Edward, For the last two days I (a former employee of Borders) have been trying to post a five paragraph comment on my experiences at Borders. I've been blocked every time. Do you know why?