Borders Fortunes Head South

Rumours continue to swirl about the impending bankruptcy of giant US chain Borders. Media Bistro blog Galleycat reports that Bloomberg News predicts the company will file for bankruptcy as early as this week, while the Wall Street Journal says an end-of-month date is more probable, and that 150 to 200 Borders stores may close as a result. The speculation comes as news circulated that Borders has allegedly delayed payment to a number of its creditors.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, 11 branches of the Waterstone’s bookselling group were closed on Sunday due to poor sales.

The news comes as further grim news in an unforgiving climate for booksellers. A Borders bankruptcy will further entrench the dominance of Barnes & Noble in the US ‘dead tree’ publishing business. It’s been a good year for Barnes & Noble - its Nook e-reader currently has 20% of market share of e-books, up from 5% before the great Amazon agency-model capitulation last April.

Correction: when we first published this story this morning, the first paragraph contained the phrase, “The giant bookseller operates 26 stores in Australia, so its future has implications for its staff, not to mention local readers.” A reader correctly pointed out that the Australian stores are owned by a third party, and the story has been modified to suit.