*Borders gives up on sale, will seek liquidation

In a nutshell, no one wanted to take a chance on a retailer that is broke and represents an increasingly anachronistic way of buying books. The chain's 400 remaining stores will be shuttered, assuming that a liquidation plan is approved by a bankruptcy judge. Going-out-of-business sales could start as early as Friday, says the WSJ. At its peak, Borders had more than 1,000 locations. From AP:

If Borders liquidates, it will be a "sad day in book publishing's history and will do severe and lasting damage to the industry's ecosystem," said Simba Information senior trade analyst Michael Norris. "There are so many people who buy a small number of books in a given year that the absence of a nearby store that they like can really curb how much they buy," he said. "They won't go to another store or online like flicking a switch."

Mitch Albom reflects:

I still remember walking into the original Borders bookstore in Ann Arbor. It seemed to take up the entire block. "You gotta see this place!" a friend had gushed, and when we pulled open the doors, I knew what he meant. A symphony exploded in my head. This was 1985, a little more than a decade after Tom and Louis Borders, two brothers who were students at the University of Michigan, slapped together a used book operation on the second floor of a building. Now, here on State Street, was this massive pantheon to the written works of the world. New books. Used books. Local authors. International authors. The classics. The arts. Politics. History. Miles of paperbacks. Endless aisles. As a young writer, you wandered through the place and said, "One day, maybe me..." It was magic. Magic fades.

*This is not likely to go smoothly, with landlords, creditors and e-book maker Koboall objecting to the liquidation process. From Bloomberg:

"The debtors are proposing a hurried and confusing sale process that leaves parties such as Kobo uninformed as to precisely what will be sold or how the debtors intend to proceed," lawyers for Kobo wrote. Kobo, a Toronto-based maker of electronic books, said it should have the right of first refusal for any transfer of Borders' 11 percent stake in its equity, and Borders' shouldn't be allowed to sell information that Kobo has licensed to Borders. The new sales motion isn't consistent with Borders' past practices and violates "critical landlords rights and protections" under leases, said lawyers for Macerich Co. (MAC) and other landlords.

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
Recent Books stories:
Letter from Down Under: Welcome to the Homogenocene
Wanda Coleman, poet was 67 *
Writing what you know: crime reporter Michael Krikorian
Five years later, owner drops plan to raze Dutton's
Cash mob at Diesel, A Bookstore

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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