Oct 23, 2011

End of An Era for Borders

Borders Wheelock Place

Borders is dead. I thought I just have to see it for myself at Orchard. Outside the covered walkway of Wheelock Place, I stared in disbelief at the slab panels, once transparent, now covered, the familiar sight of bookshelves and folks engrossed in their reading ... gone! Inside the mall, the grand entrance was not to be found. As I gazed at the shutters in its place, I wondered out loud - is this for real?

Borders Wheelock Place
To me Wheelock Place and Borders are synonymous. When I say I'm going to Borders, I really mean Wheelock Place.

Borders Wheelock Place
The main entrance of Borders, now shuttered up. I read Marks and Spencer (previously at the basement) are taking up the space.

While the flagship was sunk, there were hopes that another might live in the east, at Parkway Parade. I remember the assurance from Borders that it was "business as usual" at Parkway despite what happened at Orchard. That its demise came next was a bit unexpected but not so much of a surprise. When reasons for flagship sinking have to do with relationship with landlord which has to do with rental payment, you can much guess Border's fundamentals are not strong.

Borders Parkway Parade
"Borders Price Guarantee" - looks like a scene from its heydays but it is not. I took this during the closing-down sale.

I witnessed a historical closing of this mega book-store when I went to the clearing-out sale at the Parkway branch. It was total carnage, every man and woman for themselves, jostling and trying to salvage the gems still left on the shelves. As I was not there on the first day, there was nothing left for me worth buying, all the good books were wiped out to a cover. Despite the attractive 70% sale, I walked out empty-handed and heaved a sigh of relief. Finally I'm out of hell.

Borders Parkway Parade
Borders at Parkway Parade where there was a 70% off storewide. It was total carnage inside.

Borders Parkway Parade
One corner of the book-store that has been emptied.

There is nothing to salvage, not even its "online heritage". I discovered this when I was trying to catch a last glimpse of its online presence. Even Border's website has disappeared. I was not amused when clicking brought me to another destination.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I have never seen a more selfish lot of people than those who go to Borders and other bookshops.

There are browsers, readers but not many buyers. They hog the seats, squat on the carpet floors and screaming children swarm the Korner for Kids.

They treat the books and magazines as their own and throw them on the chairs after reading them and honestly, some are dog-eared.

And what was the report in the newspapers when Borders was closing down?

"I will miss my Borders rendezvous" and "Nice place to take the kids to read."

No wonder Borders and a few other bookshops in Singapore have closed these many years.

Thank you for doing this post but do tell me if I am wrong!

Lam Chun See said...

Andy, if you get mad about such people, wait till you meet these guys.