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Posted at 11:59 AM ET, 02/16/2011

Borders closing: find which stores will be shut (Map)

By Michael Rosenwald
A Borders Group Inc. bookstore that closed last month stands in Farmington Hills, Michigan, U.S. (Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg)

The story of Borders Bookstore has apparently reached its climax.

The iconic bookstore chain, founded in 1971 by brothers Tom and Louis Borders, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization this morning, weighed down under crushing debt and unable to successfully navigate rapid changes in consumer behavior.

In: e-books, downloaded whenever, wherever.

Out: People buying books in Borders stores.

Borders, in court filings, said it will close about 30 percent of its more than 600 stores, including several in the DC region.

The local closures include some of the chain's most popular local outlets: at White Flint Mall, in Kensington; in Friendship Heights, on Wisconsin Avenue; and on 18th and L, downtown. Stores also will close in Vienna and Winchester, both in Virginia; and in Bowie, Md.

"This is the biggest bankruptcy in the history of the book business, said Albert Greco, senior researcher at the Institute for Publishing Research. "This is really a depressing day."

View Borders closings in a full screen map

By Michael Rosenwald  | February 16, 2011; 11:59 AM ET
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Here in New Mexico you can plainly see why Border's is going out of business. In Santa Fe, we have two Border's stores. The original store, on the north part of town where the demographics dovetail with book readers, i.e. highly educated and upper income levels. The south-side store is in the heart of little Mexico, i.e. predominantly undereducated and probably 50 percent Spanish only speaking. Guess which store is actually closing? That's right, the north-side location. I wish someone from Border's can show me one positive decision that's been made by that sorry-arsed excuse of a management team that has actually made any sense!

Posted by: nealsspec | February 16, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Like most bankrupt retailers they are closing stores with expensive leases that can be lucratively sublet to others. The L St store is a shell of its former self and far less popular than it used to be.

Posted by: thebuckguy | February 16, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Shocked that the 18th and L location will close. That place is always packed.

Posted by: SavedByZero | February 16, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Bad news for Borders, but maybe not so bad for the few independent book stores that survive.

So many quality independents were done in by the chains (Borders, Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, Crown, B. Dalton) that's it's easy to see a kind of rough justice in the collapse of Borders.

Posted by: HughBriss | February 16, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised a couple more of the VA locations aren't closing, but the Vienna was is a real no-brainer. That location has had significant problems with foot traffic ever since Best Buy moved out of the building and up Route 7 a few blocks and seems to have a sparser inventory than other area stores despite being two floors. I figured Bailey's Crossroads and perhaps Sterling would be in trouble, but they appear safe for now.

Glad to see the one I go to most often (on Lee Highway in Fairfax) isn't on the chopping block yet. That one always seems pretty busy.

I guess the mall stores (Borders Express / Waldenbooks) generate enough sales and don't have as much overhead in a much shorter inventory list that they're not being touched, but I would have thought mall rents might have forced a few of them to close, too.

Posted by: exerda | February 16, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@nealsspec and SavedByZero: Keep in mind that even popular-seeming stores might be saddled with the higher rent, hence their closing, vs. another store that doesn't seem as popular.

Posted by: daveb59 | February 16, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to see that the Tysons location is going to be closed. I did like shopping there but I have to admit that it has been over a year since I last visited.

Posted by: LittleRed1 | February 16, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

According to the list on their website ( they will also be closing the Largo store.

Posted by: royterp | February 16, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

What Borders and B&N et al don't understand is that, for the most part, they don't sell books. They should have sold "social" more and understood the demographic that frequents their stores. I know people who would spend hours on a Friday night there and not spend a dime on magazines, but read them for hours... but they'd spend $5 on a coffee. They needed to figure out how to sell social. Social networks, try as they might, can't do that, and neither can e-books or amazon. Just like Ma Bell didn't replace the local bar. Borders and B&N need to go beyond the coffee nook.

Posted by: NovaMike | February 16, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Aw gee. It looks like the policy of moving in near successful local bookstores and trying to undercut their business by offsetting prices with their other chains failed.

Not sad to see them go, nor their ruthless treatment of employees. The Walmart of bookstores is dying. Boohoo.

Posted by: jiji1 | February 16, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree on the idea to sell the stores more as social gathering places. Sell wine and food beyond sweets and offer areas for book discussion or just mingling. They could also have an area for kids to watch movies. But why should I buy a book there when it's cheaper on

Posted by: duhneese | February 16, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Amazon sells books cheaper than Borders and delivers the books to my front door. The only advantage to a book store in this Internet age is the staff, and here Borders woefully lets readers down. The staff can't find anything, even with their computerized system. Books are filed improperly on the shelves and those supposedly displayed on the ends aren't there. It is a horrible experience shopping for books there.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | February 16, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Tyson's would be viable except for the road construction nearby.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 16, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Pleeeeez tell me 18th St is not closing until much much later this year. Pleeeeez.

Posted by: forgetthis | February 16, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I remember seeing an indie bookstore owner gloating a while back because the Borders which drove her store out of business had itself folded. I suspect many such (former) bookstore owners are now going "Awwwww...."
Me, I'm just relieved I didn't knock myself out trying to get my books up on their site (which they didn't exactly make easy, either.)

Posted by: BrettTonaille | February 16, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe this! With the 18th street location closing, there won't be any Borders stores in DC!

Posted by: enchantress_ashley | February 16, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I owned three bookshops in DC and Bethesda for 23 years, and even though we all knew this was coming, this is still depressing news. My wife and I have patronized their Rockville store (not sure why they call it "Kensington") since it was at the corner of Nicholson, and up until recent years it had far and away the best new book selection in the area, including Politics and Prose.

I also buy tons of books on Amazon and abebooks, and sure, the prices and convenience there can't be beat. But beyond the ambiance, the value of a first rate shop like the White Flint Borders store in its glory years is that you'd constantly be stumbling on scores of fine books that never made the reviews, and that you otherwise never would have known about. To find pleasure in the demise of Borders simply because of its size just strikes me as stupid at best and gratuitous at worst. I'm going to miss this store terribly.

Posted by: andym108 | February 16, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Nice place to spend hours sipping coffee and browsing magazines in the cafe. 8-)

Posted by: Doctor_Evil | February 16, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse

The map is missing the store in Winchester, VA, #685. A complete listing can be found at (Thanks, WTOP.)

Posted by: jthaddeus | February 16, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

For fiction I get my books from the library. For buying I get them from Amazon or from sites that specialize in my hobby (general bookstores are quite weak for that). But, when I need a book RIGHT NOW, Borders is my first choice. I greatly prefer it to B&N. When I wanted a specific book for a gift, the staff member was able to lead me right to it. Fortunately, the Columbia, MD store isn't on the closing list.

Posted by: BarbaraB2 | February 16, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

This is Bush's fault.

Posted by: | February 16, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Managed indie stores that Borders targeted in my area in the early 90s, helping push them out of business. Ended up working for Borders for a year, and I couldn't get over the absolute lack of interest in bookselling customer service. We'd be given rules for how to page someone to the registers, but no one expected the staff to know anything about books. My coworkers relied on me to teach them about what to recommend, how to figure out the weirdly worded requests booksellers get all day ("it was a pink book about cats, or a book about pink cats").

Then there were the anti-union videos from the CEO and union busting activity that Borders spent a ton of money on.

The company's mission was, at least at the time, to be the largest book, music and video retailer in the world. Not the best, just the biggest. I stopped into a Borders in London and it was like going to McDonalds -- everything was exactly the same as at home. London, Cleveland -- all the same.

Despite all that, I am sorry to see these stores go because I love bookstores. But DC is lucky to have a handful of great indie stores left. Please, readers, patronize them! Even if you spend a few extra bucks for music or a book, it's worth it for the community.

Posted by: TracyDC | February 16, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I dare you you to say it to my face the way i said it to TU MaDRES face


Posted by: kadija1 | February 16, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to see the Borders locations go, but all tangible content mediums (and the major companies that manufacture, distribute, warehouse, and sell these products) are probably doomed. About 20 % of releases generate 80% of revenues. The rest, consume a lot of resources, space, capital, and staff-hours to press, package, transport, stock, and sell. Borders faces the same fate as Blockbuster, Musicland/Sam Goody, Newsweek, Gamestop, and anyone selling any product that can be digitized and downloaded.

Posted by: jtrice12 | February 16, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy to see the store in Manassas, VA will remain open.

Posted by: pjrobinson1 | February 16, 2011 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm with andym108- online booksellers may be cheaper, but they can't replace the bookstore experience, just as online movies will never be as great as seeing them in a theater. The joy of walking into a Borders and breathing in all that air of possibility--what book might I see that I hadn't known existed?--and the intellectual happiness of being among fellow readers can't be equaled by any digital bookstore. Sigh.

I will miss the White Flint stpre very, very much.

Posted by: angelicat | February 16, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Borders' management has much like Ken Olsen of Digital Equipment Corp

"Many within the industry assumed that Digital, with its stellar engineering staff, would be the logical company to usher in the age of personal computers, but Mr. Olsen was openly skeptical of the desktop machines. He thought of them as “toys” used for playing video games."

Borders' management just refused to understand that eBooks were not toys and that this generation was going to consume books in a very different way.

Borders' stores were always packed bu they were used as meeting spaces for conducting business and interviews. Not buying books.

Posted by: JackFlashman | February 16, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

What's everyone so happy about? It's now B&N against Amazon. Less competition means higher prices. Yippee.

Posted by: randysbailin | February 16, 2011 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Starbucks should begin selling magazines. This will allow them to perfect the business model that Borders introduced: an appealingly upscale place to drink overpriced coffee, but without the crushing overhead of stocking books that almost nobody buys anyway!

Posted by: HughBriss | February 16, 2011 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Borders made it way too easy for freeloaders (yes, you, you coffee-sipping, magazine reading, homework-doing, tax preparation, using but not paying people) to rip off their stores. Everyone seems to have forgotten, including Borders management, that it was a bookstore, not the local public library, and that to stay in busines, books must be SOLD. I know, I ran a bookstore once upon a time.

Posted by: JuniusPublicus | February 17, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

In the San Fernando Valley, we lost a Barnes & Noble in Encino to a greed-run-amok developer (still wondering if there is another kind) just a month ago. Now we are losing a Borders just two miles down Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. As a result, you can drive across a 15 mile or so swath of suburbia in north LA now without stumbling upon a new book for sale. If this isn't moronic management, I don't know what is. Did it not occur to any idiot on the Borders team that their primary competitor just up and left, and they would likely pick up a lion's share of its business if they kept their store open long enough to check that theory out?

Posted by: sdlondon | February 18, 2011 2:08 AM | Report abuse

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