© 2024
NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Customers Turn The Page On Borders


Borders, the books and music retailer, plans to close the last of its stores today. The Michigan company filed for bankruptcy in February after a disappointing holiday season and years of financial difficulties. Through the spring and summer, executives tried to find a way to save Borders, but in July, they announced nearly 400 stores would be permanently closed. NPR's Jeff Brady visited a Borders in suburban Philadelphia.

JEFF BRADY: Outside the Springfield, Pennsylvania Borders there's a long, yellow going out of business banner hung above the Borders sign. Under that, big posters announcing everything is 90-percent off. Employee Sneha Abraham will be out of a job soon.

SNEHA ABRAHAM: I only got the job because they were going out of business, actually, 'cause they needed extra people to push stuff out.

BRADY: Abraham says the last few days have been busy, but traffic into the store slowed a bit as the book selection thinned out.

ABRAHAM: All the fixtures are for sale. A lot of the bookcases have sold already and people are coming and taking those away.

BRADY: Nearby, Tiffany Howard is loading the back of her SUV.

TIFFANY HOWARD: And I found a nice bookshelf for my classroom. I'm actually going to use it for a puzzle holder to separate the puzzles in my classroom.

BRADY: Oh, so it's got, looks like 20 different little compartments.

HOWARD: Yes, and when I don't need it for a puzzle shelf, I'm going to use it for the kids' mailboxes.

BRADY: At ten dollars, she says it was a bargain. Michael Klambara left with seven books. The total bill: fifteen dollars. He echoes market analysts who say Borders suffered from a combination of problems, including poor management, the economy and a business that's changing.

MICHAEL KLAMBARA: I guess with the e-books and everything coming into prominence, it was bound to happen. It was definitely bound to happen, unfortunately, but I still prefer holding a book but the e-books seem to be taking everything over.

BRADY: For some customers leaving this Borders, the store closing is a loss. Martha Penny was lugging a bookcase across the parking lot.

MARTHA PENNY: I'm sad. Borders is my friend. It's been my friend for as long as it's been around. That's all. It's just sad.

BRADY: Already inside her car, Patrice Kelly has a bag with three books inside that she paid less than four dollars for.


BRADY: Really?

KELLY: I think so.

BRADY: Because?

KELLY: Bookstores are closing.

BRADY: So, where will you go now?

KELLY: Barnes and Noble, maybe, or Amazon.

BRADY: As the last Borders closes, rival Barnes and Noble is in better financial condition. Still, its stock price sits at about a third of what it was four years ago. Amazon, on the other hand, appears to have the confidence of investors. Its stock was trading for about $35 at the end of 2008. On Friday, it traded for nearly seven times that - $240 a share. Jeff Brady, NPR News, Philadelphia. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.