Is Books-A-Million slowly becoming the new Borders?
September 21, 2012 | 9:09 pm
By Dan Eldridge
Over at The Digital Reader, Nate Hoffelder posted a great positive-news piece earlier today about a three-story, 41,000-square-foot bookstore that just opened in a Hong Kong shopping mall. As far as I’m concerned, any new brick-and-mortar bookstore that opens for business today is cause for celebration, even if it does happen to be halfway around the world.
Regardless of last year’s Borders liquidation, however, it looks like there may still be at least some cause for celebration here in the States as well, in the form of Books-A-Million—the Alabama-based company that at one point was intending to take over more than two dozen of the doomed Borders stores.
After Borders declared bankruptcy and closed all 399 of its locations, BAM became the second-largest bookstore chain in the country. This morning, I got word from a real estate publicist that the company has just signed a lease for a 30,000-square-foot former Borders store just outside Wilmington, Delaware. According to Metro Commercial Real Estate, which negotiated the deal on behalf of the building’s landlord, “plans call for the building to continue to be used as a bookstore by Books-A-Million, which will be open before the end of 2012.”
Last July, we briefly reported on the much-publicized news that BAM was considering the possibility of independently leasing a number of shuttered Borders locations. Since then, more than a few BAM shops have opened in former Borders stores, mostly in the South.
BAM’s current plan of attack seems to be based on the slow-and-steady model, and given the state of brick-and-mortar bookstores today, that’s probably wise. But in five years time, say, it’s definitely likely that dozens of new BAM locations—or maybe more—will exist where only empty Borders stores stand today.