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Borders Bookstores closing down for good – FAQ

BY Boon Koh
Published 26 November 2009

Borders Bookstore Sign Logo Borders Bookstores in the UK have gone into administration, as they were making huge losses and simply run out of money to pay their suppliers and staff wages. The past week has seen the Borders management team scramble to find a solution or a buyer for the company, but today they were forced to finally call in the bankruptcy accountants, MCR.

Below, the team at the London Insider have compiled a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on what will happen now that Borders is closing down:

Extra information in blue has been added on the 22nd December 2009

What will happen to Borders Now?
At this early stage, it is uncertain what will happen to the stores. Certainly, it is expected that they will be open for business as usual over the next few days at least while plans are being formulated. However, all the stores will eventually either be shut down, sold to a rival high street bookstore chain like Waterstones (part of HMV Group), or an investor will swoop in and buy the brand and stores and keep them running. It is possible that the stores will be kept running through the important Christmas period and closed down in January 2010.

The last trading day for all the stores is on Tuesday, 22nd December 2009. From Wednesday onwards the stores will remain shut, and all stock will be returned to suppliers or trade auctioned. All store furnishings, fittings, and equipment is also up for sale on the last day. While Waterstones and other high street stores might resurrect some of the Borders book shops, this will likely only take place in January or February 2010 after liquidation, administration, and bankruptcy procedures are followed through.

What will happen to gift vouchers and certificates?
There is no clear statement yet from MCR about gift vouchers and certificates, but by law, customers will be entitled to a full refund if the physical bookstores close down. Customers will also be first in line in front of other creditors seeking money from Borders, so there is only like a 0.0001% chance that holders of gift certificates, vouchers and gift cards will be unable to get their money back. Of course, you can still use those until the physical stores finally close for business. Borders gift vouchers could only be used for half the purchase amount (e.g. if your basket comes up to £20, then you can only use £10 of gift vouchers, and have to pay the remainder by cash, debit card, or credit card). It is unknown what will happen to gift vouchers after the last day of trading on the 22nd December.

What about refunds for books I have bought from a Borders store?
The same principle will probably apply as stated above for gift certificates. But they will probably have to be mailed in to the administrator’s offices, so postage cost may have to be incurred for returns. Also the last day of returns to a store is on the 22nd December 2009.

Are there going to be fire sales or closing down sales?
Absolutely! Some Borders bookstores have already started their closing down/clearance sales, and there will probably be lots of bargains to be had as all the stock must go. However, the stock can also be returned to publishers and distributors, so it is unlikely that very popular books will be severely discounted, but the discount will probably be in the region of up to 70% off RRP. Books Etc stores, which are owned by Borders UK, have already been having their closing down sales for weeks now. The London Insider recommends making a trip down to a Borders or Books Etc store to see if you can pick up any book bargains for Christmas presents.

During the past week, the London Insider was disappointed to see that the remaining stock, sold at between 60-70% discount off RRP, were books that no-one would want to touch with a barge pole, let alone buy. There was a good selection of obscure fiction books, but most of the non-fiction books, especially cookery, business, and travel guidebooks, had been snapped up. On the final day on the 22nd December, the last few remaining books were being sold at 90% off RRP.

What about online orders through the Borders.co.uk website?
If you placed an order through the Borders website, it will be processed as usual and your order dispatched to you as soon as possible. However, since Monday it has not been possible to place new orders on the website.

Where are the Borders stores in London?
The following is a list of Borders bookstores in London and their addresses:
Borders Islington: N1 Centre Islington, 26 Parkfield Street, Islington, London, N1 0PS
Borders West End: 122 Charing Cross Rd, London, WC2H 0JR
Borders Oxford Street: 203 Oxford St, London, W1D 2LE
Borders Fulham: Fulham Broadway Retail Centre, Fulham Road, London, SW6 1BW

All the above branches will be closed from Wednesday 23rd December onwards.

I was a loyal Borders customer. Where can I now buy my books, CDs, and DVDs?
On the high street, Waterstones and HMV are the two main companies set to benefit directly from Border’s demise. Online, it will probably be Amazon.co.uk, Zavvi.com, and Play.com that are main beneficiaries, along with Waterstones.com and HMV.com.

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  • Shwan


    I had ordered a book on line from Borders website just before it had gone into administration. Anybody knows if there anyway I can claim a refund?


  • Emilie


    I used to go to Borders to buy note books, paper and stuff. I went to WH Smith and Waterstone but none of those shops have what I want now that Borders has closed down, where should I go then? :/

    Many Thanks

  • Finn

    I just linked this article on my facebook account. It’s an interesting read for everyone.