Closing the book on Borders

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By KRISTEN CLOYED, ASSISTANT SECTION EDITOR

The nation’s second largest bookstore chain is going out of business. Borders began liquidation of their remaining 399 stores Friday, with the process set for completion by the end of September. The end of Borders means the chain’s 10,700 employees will lose their jobs.

“Following the best efforts of all parties, we are saddened by this development,” Borders Group President Mike Edwards said in a press release. “We were all working hard towards a different outcome, but the headwinds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now.”

Borders, based out of Ann Arbor, Mich., has been battling tough times for years. After phasing out music and movies, the chain began knocking down prices. Lately, customers are enticed by shelves of bargain-priced books.

Borders filed for bankruptcy protection in February hoping to recover by the fall. Competing against larger rivals Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com, Borders struggled to keep up with the digital revolution. Entering the electronic book market just last year with the Kobo eReader may have been Borders’ last chance at recovery.

However, the chain’s attempts to stay afloat were shut down last week after a bid from private equity firm Najafi Cos. fell through. Edwards expressed sorrow at the loss of such an influential company.

“Everyone at Borders has helped millions of people discover new books, music and movies, and we all take pride in the role Borders has played in our customers’ lives,” Edwards said. “I extend heartfelt thanks to all of our dedicated employees and our loyal customers.”

Borders has three stores in the Omaha area, one located at 72nd and Dodge Streets, one near 132nd Street and West Maple Road and a third at Shadow Lake shopping center at 72nd and Highway 370. A spokesperson for the 132nd Street location, who was not able to give his name, couldn’t say how long the Omaha branches would stay open.

“Right now we have no information,” he said. “I really can’t talk about it until we know more.” He continued on to say that morale for the company and its employees is not good.

Employees and customers alike are saddened by the loss of the 30-year old company.

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