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Worrying news (UK)

Borders UK is going into administration.
There goes one of the few booksellers we have locally who still stock substantial amounts of backlist and of US as well as UK paperbacks. (I know Borders aren't perfect, but since Heffers was gutted by the Evil From Oxford, and since Waterstones decided they were bestseller focused, Borders have been the best chain we have in Cambridge, at least.)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8380268.stm

Evening edit: it's now even more complicated, as the administrators have pulled out citing a 'conflict'. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/nov/26/borders-books-set-administration

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( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
autopope
Nov. 26th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
Link, please?
bellinghman
Nov. 26th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
dancinghorse
Nov. 26th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
Oh nooooo! Not Heffers, too! I loved my Heffers.
bellinghman
Nov. 26th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
Sorry - they got borged by Blackwells a while back now.
la_marquise_de_
Nov. 26th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
I loved them too and I miss them dearly. B*gger Bl*ckwells.
uk_sef
Nov. 26th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
Yes, everything went very bad on the website and ordering front when the Oxford mob ingested them. I pretty much gave up on them after that.
shui_long
Nov. 26th, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
The main Heffers shop is still there, but no longer worth visiting.
(And Blackwells in Oxford isn't what it used to be, either, though still better than the remains of Heffers.)
armb
Nov. 26th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Bother.
themis1
Nov. 26th, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
I saw this was looming, and I'm sorry it's happened. Whilst it's possible to get things online if you know what you're looking for, at this rate there will be nowhere left where you can just browse and find unexpected treasures. Apart from the Penn Book Shop, of course, but you do have to be prepared to wade through a lot of books to find the treasures there!! Perhaps the demise of some of the bigger chains will lead to the re-emergence of independent booksellers, though - that would be excellent.
la_marquise_de_
Nov. 26th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
We can hope for that. But otherwise this is dire.
the_faery_queen
Nov. 26th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
CRAP! they're one of the few places that will do a book launch for people like me, people who don't have big stored tonne of books (waterstones will do launches for those not with a big house but only if you have a tonne of books and i can't afford to buy a tonne of books to supply them with! while borders don't seem to have the same requirment) :(
la_marquise_de_
Nov. 26th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
Exactly. It's a big hit for authors.
the_faery_queen
Nov. 26th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
as if it wasn't hard enough already :(
the_faery_queen
Nov. 26th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
as for buying books, i get mine from abebooks.com. or bookmooch! free books from the latter, and the former are second hand, cheap even with postage, and do a lot of us books. but you need to know what you want, which was the joy of a bookstore i guess, not having to know and just getting to browse :(
pwilkinson
Nov. 26th, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, I'm not at all surprised by this news. Borders UK almost went under in July just before the management buyout, and from some comments I met at the time, the existing management were probably exactly the wrong people to trust to run a chain of bookshops successfully. And whether Borders branches have been worth patronising since then has depended on just how committed the staff in each individual shop have been to keeping things running in very adverse circumstances - and I'm going to be very sorry for the (probably quite numerous) staff who have been that committed.

I would expect Blackwells and/or Foyles to expand into some (but far from all) of Borders' present locations - but I suspect that any independents who try to do so are going to have to find some very well-defined niches if they are to survive at all.

And since, to date, I simply don't buy books online at all - it's probably a very good thing for me that I live in London.
la_marquise_de_
Nov. 26th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
The warning signs had started a long time ago. But it's a shame. We needed them to reduce the local complacency.
shui_long
Nov. 26th, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
The BBC report has been updated, naming a different administrator (MCR). But the clear implication is that they're looking to sell off individual stores, and there aren't likely to be many buyers, which looks like very bad news for the Cambridge (and Oxford) Borders.
la_marquise_de_
Nov. 26th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the update. It is worrying. I'll miss them if they go.
anna_wing
Nov. 27th, 2009 03:05 am (UTC)
Someone needs to give a call to Kinokuniya, and ask them if they're interested in expanding into the UK.
la_marquise_de_
Nov. 27th, 2009 11:28 am (UTC)
They have one branch in London already.
lil_shepherd
Nov. 27th, 2009 07:45 am (UTC)
Heard Tim Waterstone this morning basically saying that Borders made the wrong decision to diversify and try and be all things to all men rather that a high class purveyor of books. What they did was put themselves into conflict with the supermarkets and HMV and with the middle-market new management at Waterstones, with the result that they lost market share all round. Also that they have too many out of town stores in Industrial units, when the book market is the high street and the internet.

As he says, the book market is strong, and they do very well in the US where these mistakes have not been made.
la_marquise_de_
Nov. 27th, 2009 11:31 am (UTC)
The Cambridge store is a bit different, I think, as it has also positioned itself for the academic side. The local Waterstones is all bestsellers and travel guides and school stuff..
lil_shepherd
Nov. 27th, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
I think that is one they may be able to sell.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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