Borders Closing Draws a Crowd
It is unclear when the Lutherville location will be closing its doors permanently.
The line at Lutherville’s Borders Books and Music wrapped around several aisles today, as customers turned out in droves to take advantage of the store’s liquidation sales.
Store closing procedures for the struggling book chain began Friday across the country.
Mary Davis, the Borders Group public relations manager in Ann Arbor, MI, said she couldn't predict an exact date for when the Lutherville location would be closing its doors.
“All the stores are expected to wind down by the end of September,” she said. “It all depends on how quickly they sell their merchandise.”
Many customers had their arms full of books as they walked through the store. Visibly missing were the cups of lattes and espressos often in hand. The store’s café had already shut down, its chairs stacked and its dessert case empty.
The discounts were disappointing to some shoppers, who had received an email advertising 40 percent off some items, only to discover that many of the store’s books were only 10 percent off.
“They’re so expensive to begin with, and it’s only 10 percent off,” said Dimitri Kotzias of Baltimore, who was shopping for Dungeons and Dragons books with his friend, Jack Bindon, also of Baltimore.
The two gamers plan to come back in a few weeks to see if the discounts have increased.
“It’ll be 60 [percent off] by then,” Bindon said. “Ninety maybe.”
Davis could not comment as to whether the sale prices would continue to drop, but she did say, “gift cards are accepted throughout the sale, and if any of your readers are Borders Rewards Plus members, which is our loyalty program, they will be able to take advantage of the discounts for the first two weeks of the sale. Those discounts are on top of the liquidation prices.”
Joan Dier and Susan Naylor, both state employees who work around the corner from the Borders location, plan to avail themselves of every last day that the store is open during their lunch breaks.
“We’re coming in every day, until they lock the door," Dier said. "What will I do on my lunch break now? Until they force me to come up with another routine, I’m not going to change it.”
Both ladies had a pile of books they were considering buying but were confused about the discount.
“It was unclear, because we got an email that said 40 percent,” said Dier. The books she and Naylor were carrying were only discounted by 10 percent. The women seemed disappointed, though news of the store's closing tugged harder.
“Sad, sad, sad, sad,” they said in unison, when asked how they felt.
“So sad,” Dier added.
Steve Moore, from Towson, had as many opinions about Borders’ sale prices as he had books in his arms. The books were about fitness and martial arts. His wife was piling books about yoga and Pilates into her own stack.
“It says between 10 and 40 percent off,” said Moore, who owns a marketing company. “If they were to have the 10 to 40 percent discounts anyway, they probably wouldn’t be going out of business. If you think about it, the mark-ups on books are ridiculous.
"It’s like clothing. At least from my understanding. So if they were to offer more discounts and more community involvement, I think they probably wouldn’t go out of business," Moore continued.
There is a small ray of hope for Lutherville’s Borders location.
“I will tell you that Books-A-Million has expressed interest in 30 stores nationwide, but that list has not been released,” said Davis, who added that Books-A-Million operates stores primarily in the southern states.
Books-A-Million is the third (now second) largest book retailer in the nation, operating more than 200 stores, including ones as far north as Maryland and Pennsylvania, according to the company's website.