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Borders files Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection

February 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Struggling retailer Borders booksellers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday.

Poor sales and a long list of publishers to which the company owes money caused Borders to announce the closing of a third of its stores, including some in the Southland.

This affects the book industry as well as consumers.

So another retailer bites the dust. The great recession has taken down Circuit City and Blockbuster, and this time the casualty is Borders bookstores. Wednesday the company filed for bankruptcy protection and will be closing 200 of its 500 stores, including 18 in the Southland.

Allison Hill, president of Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, says these are tough times to be in the book business.

"We've all been trained to kind of set up these strategic plans and business plans and forecasts, and right now, I don't think any of us know where the industry will be in five years," said Hill.

Years ago mom and pop stores like Vroman's were just about written off as the big-box booksellers, like Borders, appeared to be taking over. But surprise -- it's still here.

"We joke when people ask us about how we're weathering the recession, that they forget we've been around for 116 years, that we made it through the Great Depression, that this recession's nothing," said Hill.

"I like the smell, I like the feel, I like being able to take a book and sit down in a chair and look through it," said San Juan Capistrano resident Julie Bolster.

Smaller book stores like Vroman's are trying to cash in on the demise of some of Borders' stores. At Vroman's, if you bring in a Borders rewards card, you'll get a free $20 Vroman's gift card.

Borders says customer spending has dropped the past two years, much of that due to online book retailers like Amazon.com and e-book readers like the Kindle and even the iPad that have siphoned away much of the book buying.

Most of the Southland stores will be closing in April.

Southern California locations closing:
Cerritos - Cerritos Towne Center - 12741 Towne Center Dr.
Chino - Chino Spectrum Town Center - 3833 Grand Ave.
Glendale - Glendale Markplace - 100 S. Brand Blvd.
La Habra - La Habra Westridge Plaza - 1310 S. Beach Blvd. Long Beach - Los Altos Market Center - 2110 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach - The Pike at Rainbow Harbor - 101 S. Pine Ave.
Los Angeles - Westfield Century City - 10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles - Howard Hughes Center - 6081 Center Dr. Suite 118
Montclair - Perimeter Plaza - 5055 S. Plaza Lane
Orange - The Block at Orange - 20 City Blvd., W.
Oxnard - Esplanade Shopping Center - 241 S. Lake Ave.
Pasadena - 475 S. Lake Avenue
Pico Rivera - Pico Rivera Town Center - 8852 Washington Blvd.
Rolling Hills Estate - The Promenade on the Peninsula - 550 Deep Valley Dr., Suite 261
Sherman Oaks - 14651 Ventura Blvd.
Tustin - The District at Tustin Legacy - 2493 Park Ave.
Valencia - Valencia Town Center - 24445 Town Center Dr.
Yorba Linda - 22401 Old Canal Road
View list of closures nationwide