When I wrote about one of the five Borders stores that was closing in New Jersey, I should have expected that the rest of the stores would be going soon, too. To be honest, I had no idea until I saw an article1 online about the Borders Farewell Email, which I had deleted from my own inbox earlier without a glance at the subject line (A Fond Farewell…) because I was so used to getting handfuls of Borders promotional emails every week.
I fished it out of my Trash box, so to speak, and found a substantial goodbye, complete with company mission, liquidation summary and plans for the leftover resources available to Rewards Members. The explanation for the company’s downfall was simple: “Borders [had] been facing headwinds for quite some time, including a rapidly changing book industry, the eReader revolution, and a turbulent economy.” The email was signed by Borders CEO Mike Edwards.
The day after the Fond Farewell, a much more crass liquidation sale email was sent, the crassness coming from the fact that the message was pure marketing, something bankrupt businesses do best. A third email explained that Borders members will be able to use their login information at OO.com2 to retrieve their WOWPoints, which can be used just as they had been for Borders Rewards Perks. OO.com is run by the same company that headed Borders Rewards Perks, Next Jump, Inc., “so this makes the transition easy.”
Other transitions seemed like they might be a little trickier—what about customers’ Kobo accounts? As it turns out, Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis assures Kobo users that Borders only had “a minority stake in [the] company,” so there’s no need to worry about the eBooks formatted for the Kobo3.
The most complicated transition that will be spurred by the company breakdown: Where will former Borders employees go in this “turbulent economy”? There doesn’t seem to be any public mention of what the company has prepared for their employees, but that doesn’t mean that there are no actions being taken. One article4 details the efforts of a few supporters to set up a blog that may help connect Borders employees with new prospects. The blog is aimed at stores in close proximity to Borders locations that may be looking for new hires.
After more than 40 years of service to the reading community, Borders has said its final words.