Tag Archives: Borders

Unused Borders Gift Cards Deemed Worthless

For those of you who still had old, unused Borders gift cards lying around, you’re not in luck. According to the LA Times, a judge ruled last month that old Borders gift cards could not be redeemed.

Borders filed for bankruptcy in February 2011 and shut its doors later that year. Soon after, a few customers filed a lawsuit, claiming customers did not get enough notice about the closure to use their gift cards in time. Though a claim deadline had been printed in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, they claimed the average person wouldn’t have necessarily read those articles.

Although there’s an estimated $210.5 million worth of unused Borders gift cards out there, a Manhattan federal judge determined that issuing all of that money to former customers wouldn’t be fair to creditors of the Borders Group, especially since the bankruptcy and liquidation is already complete. The judge upheld last year’s ruling of a U.S. bankruptcy judge.

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Nook Considers Spinoff, Stock Tumbles

Investors are on edge after Barnes and Noble announced last week it was considering spinning off its Nook business.

Nook has been a beacon of hope for the company, whose physical book sales are otherwise plummeting, much like Borders before it went under. But according to this article by The Street, Barnes and Noble officials are hoping that a spinoff would allow the Nook to expand further, both nationally and internationally. B&N CEO William Lynch explains.

“We see substantial value in what we’ve built with our Nook business in only two years, and we believe it’s the right time to investigate our options to unlock that value,” said CEO William Lynch. “In Nook, we’ve established one of the world’s best retail platforms for the sale of digital copyright content. We have a large and growing installed base of millions of satisfied customers buying digital content from us, and we have a Nook business that’s growing rapidly year-over-year and should be approximately $1.5 billion in comparable sales this fiscal year. Between continued projected growth in the U.S., and the opportunity for Nook internationally in the next 12 months, we expect the business to continue to scale rapidly for the foreseeable future.”

The company says there’s no guarantee that the Nook will branch off from B&N and won’t say anything further until a decision is made.

That being said, stocks plummeted when the news broke, which does not bode well should Barnes and Noble decide to spin off the Nook.

As far as  I’m concerned, the Nook will do well no matter where it sells or who owns it. But it’s a matter of how it will affect B&N. Should it spin off, B&N might suffer the same fate Borders did, and that would be a huge loss for readers everywhere.

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Book Sales Soar During Holiday Season

This holiday season, there were two factors that had bookstore owners concerned: the popularity of e-books and a poor economy. Most expected abysmal sales of print books.

But according to this article by the New York Times, they were wrong. Book sales are up this year from last year. In most cases, stores have seen a 10-30% rise in sales, and that includes independent bookstores and Barnes and Noble.

The closing of Borders likely had something to do with it. Or as I like to think, maybe people are better appreciating physical books now that e-books are taking over. But while November and December sales are up, bookstore owners are concerned about what the dull post-holiday season will bring, as this one explains in the article.

Sales are up 15 percent from last year at Next Chapter Bookshop in Mequon, Wis., the store’s owner, Lanora Hurley, said, speculating that she may have been helped by the closing of a Borders store about seven miles away.

“We’re just going gangbusters and having a great time,” Ms. Hurley said, adding cautiously that she was concerned that it would not last. “I have to say, I’m worried about January. Everybody’s going to open their electronic device for Christmas.”

Hurley has a point. As much as people purchase books this year, they’re also purchasing e-readers. But I think this is all working toward a better future for the book industry. It certainly proves that the industry is alive and well. And apparently entering a new age.

It seems that this year’s holiday bestsellers aren’t fiction books. Nonfiction is leading the way with the Steve Jobs biography, memoirs by the likes of Diane Keaton and Gabrielle Giffords, and political books.

Of course, this is a somewhat natural holiday shopping spike. But could it also mean the Renaissance of the book?

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Author Attempts to Defy Odds, Opens Small Bookstore

In a time where Amazon and Barnes and Noble rule, the little guys are being shut down. That’s all well and good until it left Nashville, Tennessee without a bookstore. But now a local author is attempting to defy the odds by opening her own bookstore — one she says she doesn’t even want.

According to this article by The New York Times, Ann Patchett — the bestselling author of State of Wonder — is opening her own bookstore, called Parnassus. She couldn’t believe that this cultural city, which is also the home of Vanderbilt University, faced becoming a city with only a campus bookstore.

Between money she earned from her own book sales, the help of her business partner and publishing veteran, Karen Hayes, and six months of hard work, Patchett opened the store earlier this month.

Opening an independent bookstore in this day and age is hard, and Patchett knows it. But it’s also not impossible as Julie Bosman explains.

But she is aspiring to join a small band of bookstore owners who have found patches of old-fashioned success in recent years, competing where Amazon cannot: by being small and sleek, with personal service, intimate author events and a carefully chosen rotation of books.

In Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Greenlight Bookstore opened in 2009 and reported sales of more than $1 million in its first year. The Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee was founded two years ago and has been profitable both years, its owner said.

For the sake of books and their industry, I hope that Patchett’s store succeeds. This may not be what she expected to do with her book earnings, but the people of Nashville will surely appreciate it.

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Books-A-Million to Take Over Borders Storefronts

In the past, the ongoing bookstore battle always featured the same two players: Borders and Barnes and Noble. Now that Borders has closed its doors, a new storefront will be filling in: Books-A-Million.

According to this article by the L.A. Times, the Alabama-based chain is set to replace 14 of the Borders storefronts throughout the country, including those located in Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota.

In all honesty, it doesn’t sound as though Books-A-Million will be all that different from what Borders did and what Barnes and Noble is still doing. According to this article by the Rapid City Journal, it will still be the home to a number of books, a line of e-books for the Nook, and it will have a coffee shop inside, called Joe Muggs.

It’s good to hear that the Border storefronts won’t go to waste completely. But I do wonder how Books-A-Million will be able to withstand the economic hardship that Borders suffered. If it’s the same thing as Borders was, how does it stand to profit? I’m also curious to know if more Books-A-Million stores will open down the road, if it does well.

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Free Books: Making Good Use of Borders’ Goodies

Though Borders continues to close its doors at hundreds of stores around the country, some have already begun to leave a legacy.

The Borders bookstore in Chicago locked up for good last week, but made one large donation first. According to this article by Huffington Post, the company hired to liquidate the stores, Hilco Trading LLC, donated 8000 books — worth about $130,000 — to Chicago schools.

The Hilco CEO Jeffrey Hecktman says making the donation was an easy decision.

We believe that education, above all other factors, is the foundation of commercial success and so we have decided to do what we can to help ensure American children receive the best education possible. The book donation was only our first step in a continuing commitment to align our corporate resources with the needs of public education.

Included in the donation are books about history, science, math, poetry, business, politics, and travel.

I hope that as more stores close, books are donated nationwide. They may as well make the best of Borders’ dying resources.

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Borders Bust Hurting More Than Just Books

When Borders announced it would liquidate its remaining 400 stores earlier this summer, it was no surprise that it would hurt the book industry. But what some may not have realized is that it also hurts magazines.

As you may recall, there are walls of newsstands filled with magazines inside both Borders and Barnes and Noble. I can remember a number of Friday nights spent with my friends in high school, just flipping through magazines at our local bookstore. We read all the juicy, gossipy ones our parents wouldn’t let us subscribe to.

But among those newsstands are lesser-known magazines — ones like Mother Jones, Witches and Pagans, and Crone. They’re smaller publications that don’t get the popular placement in supermarket checkout lines like People or Cosmopolitan.

According to this article by The News Frontier, with Borders going out of business, these smaller publications are suffering. And they don’t have many other options, as Alysia Santo explains:

She says Borders’ closing leaves her at a huge loss because there are very few outlets interested in stocking magazines which are specifically aimed at “pagans, witches, and goddess worshippers.” “I’m not checkout stand material,” says Niven. “People aren’t necessarily going to want to see a magazine about witches next to their gum.”

Add to that the financial burden of the magazines that don’t get sold before Borders closes, and these publications are already halfway out the door. Now they’re relying almost solely on subscribers.

It’s a sad time for the little guys. Will they ever come out on top?

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Borders is a Bust

All sales are final. As of tomorrow, Borders Bookstore is officially a bust. The once-popular chain will begin closing its remaining 400 stores nationwide, not only emptying shelves, but eliminating 11,000 jobs as well.

This comes after months of bankruptcy and failed attempts to sell and resurrect itself. So where did Borders go wrong?

1. The obvious reason; we are entering the digital world of paperless-ness. In fact, we are already in it. As online [book] shopping, e-readers, and tablets become more popular, the desire to buy a physical book is null and void.

2. As this WSJ article explains, other products in the store were beginning to hide the books altogether. As we all know, bookstores aren’t really just bookstores anymore. They’re fully equipped entertainment outlets, selling CDs, DVDs, and magazines. But once you start shielding the core of the store behind other products, the focus becomes unclear, as Matthew Dolan explains in his article:

Customers began to notice what made Borders distinctive was also disappearing. In Store No. 1, there are still books galore. But to reach them, customers must navigate through aisles of toys, stuffed animals, greeting cards, gift bags, compact discs and DVDs.

3. Barnes and Noble is better. I’ve always been a B&N girl myself. It may be the Starbucks cafe in each store. It might be the layout and look of the store. There’s also a good chance it’s the growth the company has seen after taking on the Nook, which is far more popular than Borders’ Kobo. Either way, it’s the number one bookstore nationwide, and Borders just couldn’t top it.

Whatever the reason, it’s sad to see such a staple leave the industry and say goodbye to thousands of employees, as well. What I’m wondering is, is there something Borders could have done to improve and save itself? What do you think?

***Here is another WSJ article that explains more about the financial struggle of Borders.

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