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Make a Run for the Borders

Scenes from a liquidation sale.

1:15 PM, Mar 17, 2011 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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The Wall Street Journal reports,

Borders Group Inc. hopes to exit bankruptcy-court protection by summer's end after getting a head-start on its restructuring by targeting 200 superstores for closure, Borders President Mike Edwards said in his first interview since the bookstore chain filed for Chapter 11 protection.

Borders is exploring closing as many as 75 additional stores and hopes to present a formal business plan to publishers and other creditors in early April. The ultimate goal: exit bankruptcy in August or September, ready to ramp up business for the key holiday selling season, Mr. Edwards said.

One of those superstores facing closure is the 18th and L Street location in downtown D.C. On a visit there earlier this week, I noticed the books have all been consolidated into a cluster of shelves, leaving open spaces throughout. In the basement, one section has been reserved for a furniture sale. And some areas resemble Filene's Basement on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

More important, the discounts have been upped to between 30 percent and 50 percent. Those of us who thought we could wait it out until Borders decided to giveaway $75 books at a 75 percent discount were badly mistaken. Almost all the good stuff is gone (such as travel books). A friend writes in that he tried to hide a copy of a book he wanted, hoping to retrieve it when prices plummeted. When he returned a few days later, the book was gone. I spoke with one Borders employee who initially said she could not predict how long the store would be around. Then she paused and added, "I think we'll still be here next week."

That said, there are still some great deals:

Biographies are now 40 percent off, and there were some impressive titles still lingering on the shelf, including Stefanie Powers's riveting autobiography, One from the Heart, Dick Thornburgh's spine-tingler Where the Evidence Leads, and Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter. (SPOILER ALERT: I read the ending of the Carpenter bio and here's what I found: Carpenter had finally sworn off laxatives as a way to lose weight. But then she discovered Epecac, the vomit-inducing medicine that over time can weaken the heart muscle. That's what did her in when her mother found her on the closet floor.)

Calendars are now only $1! Sure it's mid-March, but you can still enjoy nine months of staring at the Jonas Brothers, the cast of the Twilight series, or even World of WarCraft.

Hurry now before it's too late!

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