Poisoned Pen and Bards Books Owners React to Borders' Official Closure

Today, Borders Books sent out the inevitable announcement: "We're-closing-up-shop." After filing for bankruptcy in February, those in the book-publishing world followed news of the company through its rough patch, and ultimately to its death.

"I wasn't a bit surprised," says Barbara Peters, owner of Poisoned Pen, located at 4014 Goldwater Blvd in Scottsdale. "I've been saying for the past five years that the chain store model is over."

Peters places most of the blame of Borders' closure on growing technology, saying that the Internet and Amazon's Kindle have made book selling more economical. 

Stocking shelves is a thing of the past, she says, and bringing authors to their audiences (a typical occurrence at Poisoned Pen) is the future.

During a last-minute hope for survival, Borders had hoped to sell to, well, anyone.

​Phoenix-based private investment firm Najafi Companies started motions with Borders to become its "stalking horse" bid (when a bankrupt company chooses its buyer) during a court-supervised auction. The move would have helped Borders regain its ground for a successful future, according to a press release by Najafi.

Najafi pulled out, though, "disappointed" that the two parties couldn't agree on an offer.

After blaming the economy, Borders Group President Mike Edwards echoed Peters' thoughts about the changing book industry and the impact of digital reading.

"We were all working hard towards a different outcome, but ... the rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution, and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now," Edwards said in a press release.

Bards Books, at 3508 N. 7th St., Phoenix, is planning to welcome the lost and wandering crowd from Borders. Owner Sven Rosckowff says his store plans on adhering to the tastes of their new and quickly acquired book worms.

"This [closure] will certainly have an effect," says Rosckowff"All of these customers love going in and browsing. Now they'll look for another store that fits them."

​Peters says she loves the change because of the new technology-based literary possibilities. "It's very exciting, but very uncertain," she says. "As the digital age progresses, people want more human interaction between authors and their fans. That's what's keeping us in business."

Poisoned Pen, while not directly affected by Borders, is dependent on New York publishers, Peters says. It's up to them to stay in business and find a new model so that Poisoned Pen and other local bookstores with meet-and-greet events can continue to connect authors and fans.

She's worried that these publishers have spent too much trying to stock bookstores without accounting for digital growth.

"Where are they going to sell those physical copies now?" she asks.

Closing dates for the last four Borders locations in metro Phoenix (listed below) have not been announced and employees at all four locations say they're not sure when they'll be shutting their doors.

Phoenix Borders Locations: 
- Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Borders, 3800 Sky Harbor Blvd., Terminal 4, Phoenix
- Fountain Square Waldenbooks, 302 E. Bell Road, Phoenix
- Borders, 7320 West Bell, Glendale
- Superstition Springs Borders, 6555 E. Southern Ave., Mesa

In the meantime, and post-Borders-mortem, here a few locally owned bookstores (in addition to Poisoned Pen and Bards) that would be more than happy to be your new book fix:

Changing Hands, 6428 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe
- Bookmans, 8034 N. 19th Ave., Phoenix and 1056 S. Country Club Drive, Mesa
- Guidon Books, 7109 E. 2nd St., Scottsdale
- Bent Cover Books, 12428 N. 28th Drive, Phoenix

- Nite Owl Books, 4040 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
- The Book Rack, 3539 W. Bell Road, Phoenix

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