Borders CEO Mike Edwards Says Farewell To Borders Rewards Members

It was not unexpected. Borders is going out of business, and it will be liquidating its stores tomorrow (Friday, 22 July 2011). Borders CEO Mike Edwards just sent Borders Rewards Members (like me) an email to officially announce the fire sale, and what that means for Borders Bucks (they expire on July 31, 2011), Borders Rewards Plus discounts (they end August 5, 2011), and Borders gift cards (“honored during the liquidation sales”).

If you participated in the Circuit City fire sale, then you already know that “exceptional discounts” will vary.

From Borders CEO Mike Edwards:

Dear Borders Rewards Member,

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now. Borders will be dosing its doors after more than 40 years of igniting the love of reading in generations of customers. I am sorry to have to share this news with you as I feel you have been here right along with us as we fought valiantly to save the company. I want to personally thank you for your loyalty and support, whether you were one of the nearly 1.8 million customers who signed up for the Borders Rewards Plus program, shopped in our stores or on, or simply took the time to e-mail or call the company to express your support.

You might be asking yourself, what happened? How could it be that there won’t be a Borders moving forward? In a nutshell, following continued negotiations and the best efforts from all parties, no bidders presented a formal proposal to keep our company operating as a going concern. Therefore, under the terms of our debtor-in-possession financing agreement, we presented to the court for approval the proposal for firms to purchase our stores’ assets and administer the liquidation process.

We had worked very hard toward a different outcome. The fact is that Borders has been facing headwinds for quite some time, including a rapidly changing book industry, the eReader revolution, and a turbulent economy. We put up a great fight, but regrettably, in the end, we weren’t able to overcome these external forces.

Going out of business sales begin in stores Friday, July 22. I encourage you to take advantage of this one-time opportunity to find exceptional discounts on your favorite books and other great merchandise. Gift cards will be honored during the liquidation sales, and Borders Rewards Plus members will continue to enjoy their Borders Rewards Plus discounts through August 5. Further, all Borders Bucks will be honored until they expire on July 31.

For decades. Borders stores have been destinations within communities–places where people have sought knowledge, entertainment and enlightenment and connected with others who share their passions. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to lead Borders and play a role in the true and noble cause of expanding access to books and promoting the joy of reading. As a company, we cannot thank you enough for giving us the opportunity to serve you and the millions of other customers who have shopped our stores over the years. My sincerest hope is that we remain in the hearts of readers for years to come.

Many thanks,

Mike Edwards
CEO of Borders

UPDATE: The letter isn’t displayed on the Borders website, as of 7:49PM PST.

Borders Farewell Letter

[image via PJ]

Will Independent Bookstores Return When Davis Borders Is Liquidated?

Borders - Davis, CA

In 1998, the City of Davis won its lawsuit to get a Borders built in its downtown, much to the chagrin of residents and many of the local independent bookstores.

For over a decade, Borders was the anchor of the Davis Commons Shopping Area. As of 18 July 2011, Borders failed its attempt to find a buyer, and will close each of its remaining 399 stores and fire almost 11,000 employees. All thanks to the miscalculation of expanding ahead of the digital era and a couple of recessions.

It’s a bittersweet ending for the Davis Borders. First, many city residents reviled the book store before it was even constructed. Second, almost all of the local independent bookstores closed after Borders’ opening. Third, not much complaint about those bookstores closing; more laments. If anything, it gave the city more room for additional restaurants and bars. (Lucky those drinking age students.)

But now, local leaders can squabble about how to fill that empty space, which frankly only another Big Box Retailer can fill (unless major renovation is done). The City received almost fifteen (hopefully good) years from Borders. Hopefully for local residents, additional independent bookstores can return to fill that void for book lovers with Borders’ absence.

Will anyone in Davis cry for the beloved downtown Borders? Probably not. And I wouldn’t bet on a Barnes & Noble, it too has financial problems.

[photo via DavisWiki]