Monday, February 21, 2011

Media Monday: Anchorage Borders store among about 200 closing

The line extended from the front of the store to the back and began to curl around the other direction at Borders on Sunday. Tables next to the line were littered with books that people changed their minds on buying and discarded on the nearest surface. Everything is on sale at the Anchorage Borders bookstore, one of nearly 200 that are closing after the announcement last week that the company is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Borders is in financial turmoil between the pressures of slow consumer spending and expanding e-reader competition such as the Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook. A friend of mine posted on Facebook Saturday that Borders was closing, everything was on sale and "it's crazy here."

I called Sunday before we headed out to check on the deals and the sales associate who answered said the store would be operating for up to eight more weeks, depending on a variety of factors.

When we arrived, giant red, yellow and black signs screamed sale prices in all caps. Tables piled high with sale books, while some shelves had gaping openings and looked downright empty. The popular stuff seemed to be selling out fast. I'm sure the sales will get better, but it might be down to quirky, oddball stuff by then.  Go-back racks were stacked high and the staff was too busy to keep up with the high traffic filing through the store. It was harder than usual to find specific books since so many hands had dug through shelves and put books back in the wrong place, but we still found plenty of gems.

We purchased seven books, a calendar and a magazine for less than $60. Our wait to check out lasted nearly an hour. We saw friends walk in as we neared the front of the line and advised one to get in line while the other browsed and then switch.

The Washington Post reports the company is getting ready to jump on the e-reader bus:
"It hopes to emerge from Chapter 11 with new focus on e-books and products other than books. A $505 million dollar loan from GE Capital will fund its operations - with 17,500 employees - while it reorganizes."
We own Kindles at our house. So we mostly shopped for books high on visuals. A coffee table book on U.S. presidents for Josh, a photography book for me and a guitar instruction book with fret charts for Davin. Perhaps bookstores need to focus on the novelty, specialty and highly graphic if they want to weather the changing technology and consumer spending crisis.

1 comment:

  1. Same thing going on with Borders in Dallas ... I haven't braved the madness yet.


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