Borders Book Liquidation Sale Begins Friday; Local Competitor Has Little Sympathy for Owners

Chris Bowe, co-founder of Longfellow Books in Monument Square

By Carol McCracken (Post # 839)

The news that the Borders books in South Portland is closing seemed to still be sinking in for employees at the Maine Mall today as several acknowledged they’d only learned on Monday of this week that the store was closing. Mostly tight lipped, but the anger showing through at the news, several employees told mhn.com that a liquidation sale starts this Friday. It’s expected to last about six or eight weeks or until the entire inventory at the South Portland store is sold. The longer the sale goes on, the higher the discounts will become. The Maine Mall store managed to survive an earlier round of closings this winter, but not this one which was announced publicly Monday – the same day employees were informed.

The in-house cafe closes Thursday.

Chris Bowe, co-owner of the popular Longfellow’s Book Store in downtown Portland said this afternoon that he didn’t know that his business will see an increase in sales cause the Maine Mall is a destination place – a mall. He continued: “They (Borders) put countless, small independent bookstores out of business. They stopped being book sellers about 10 years ago and became real estate speculators. They opened stores in insane places. After they destroyed small bookstores, they engaged in a war of attrition up until a couple years ago. That’s when the value of their stocks went down.”

Bowe continued that the book selling business is not a high profit business. “Rather, it’s done by people who believe in ideas and stories. I do feel bad for the over 10,000 employees. I feel bad for all the towns and cities that no longer have a book store. Maybe sanity will return – people will embrace more of the village life.”

Chris Bowe and Stuart Gersen are co-owners of Longfellow Books in Monument Square. It was opened eleven years ago. Both were former employees of Bookland of Maine. Chris as a project manager and Stuart as a general manager.