Times are tough for bookstores. The traditional, brick-and-mortar and mom-and-pop shops were largely displaced by big book chains like Barnes & Noble and Borders — and now those are bleeding a slow death, too.
Which, for authors and their loyal customers, will make this rumor tough to take.
According to author Brian Keene, Borders told several unnamed employees during conference calls this week that “things are bad” and “if [you] have an opportunity for employment elsewhere, [you] should take it.”
A spokesperson for Borders did not immediately return a request for comment.
This comes less than a week after shares in the nation’s second largest book chain plummeted more than 20 percent after the company disclosed that “had delayed payments to some publishers while trying to avert a liquidity crisis” and rumors of a potential bankruptcy filing spread. (Per Bloomberg, Borders “had $23.1 million of cash on hand at the end of October, compared with $298.4 million of short-term debt and $55.8 million of long-term debt.”)
The timing of the crisis, Bloomberg noted, is even more alarming — the month of December is usually good for booksellers, as customers generally turn to books when they can’t think of anything else to buy their relatives during the holidays.
And on Monday, Borders executives told the New York Times that they would “discuss the company’s plans with publishers at hastily arranged meetings in New York later this week.”
Bookworms, stay tuned.