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More Borders stores to close, including one in Michigan

Borders to close at least 17 stores nationwide this quarter
Jennifer Guerra
Michigan Radio
Borders to close at least 17 stores nationwide this quarter

A Borders bookstore in Farmington Hills is set to close Friday, Jan. 7.

Borders Books is starting the New Year by closing the Farmington Hills store and at least 16 other stores nationwide. A Borders spokesperson says more closures could be announced in March.

The Farmington Hills store is plastered with bright yellow "Going Out of Business" banners. Books are up to 80% off, and everything has to go in the next two days.

David McNeal says shopping the closeout sale is kind of bittersweet:

"It’s good in the sense that I can get bargain books, bitter in the sense that it shows that more people aren’t reading…it’s kind of sad."

A Borders spokesperson says more store closures could be announced in March.

The Ann Arbor-based company posted a loss of more than $74 million in 2010. That’s up from nearly a $38 million loss in 2009. The trade publication Publishers Weekly says Borders is in the process of refinancing.

"Publishers appear willing to adopt a tough stance in negotiations with Borders this week regarding the chain’s need for new payment and finance terms. While Borders is meeting separately with the major New York houses, there appears to be sentiment among some of the publishers to use a mediator to negotiate on their behalf. Publishers are prohibited by law from meeting as a group to discuss terms with their vendors. And while Borders is believed to want a quick answer from publishers, the houses aren’t necessarily eager to make an immediate decision, and it is far from clear if all the houses will go along with Borders’ proposal. As reported by PW Daily Monday, Borders wants to exchange what it currently owes houses for a note, and to extend some due dates."

A recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report points out that Borders' problems come "just as publishers are releasing their crop of new titles for 2011 and readers are counting those gift cards in their Christmas stockings to buy books."

"If the chain closes within six months, the action will cut into the sales of thousands of books and could leave gift card holders with worthless plastic. There are about 500 Borders' outlets in the United States and nearly 170 airport and Waldenbooks stores as part of the chain. The loss of that many stores would be devastating to authors and publishers alike."

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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