Borders Done In By e-Readers, Economy

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Ann Arbor, Mich. - Borders Group said the advent of e-readers contributed to its expected sale to liquidators on Thursday.

The bookseller, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, could not find a bidder for its remaining 399 stores and website and now plans to sell its assets to Hilco and Gordon Brothers pending court approval. Liquidation sales will begin as soon as Friday and are expected to run through September.

"Following the best efforts of all parties, we are saddened by this development," said Borders Group president Mike Edwards. "We were all working hard towards a different outcome, but the headwinds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, e-reader revolution and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now."

The chain, which also carried music and movies, sold e-readers by Aluratek, Kobo and Sony in Area-e departments within its brick-and-mortar stores and through an online eBook store developed by Kobo that also provided e-reader apps for Apple, Android and BlackBerry mobile devices.

In a statement, Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis said, "As one of the early investors in Kobo, Borders has a minority stake in our company and serves as part of our distribution in the U.S. along with Walmart, Best Buy, Sears and other leading retailers. As a member of the broader book publishing and retailing community, we are watching Borders' story and will offer our support to Borders and their employees. Kobo will continue to serve Borders customers - in this time of transition as well as moving forward - to provide the ultimate e-reading experience and one of the widest selection of e-books available to the e-reading community worldwide."


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