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Is Borders Carlton closing?

Note: This picture is not from Borders Carlton but ZOMG! Sarah Palin! Reserve today everyone...

Please note, this post is pure speculation.

Some of you may know that, despite the fact that I don’t actually live there, the suburb of Carlton is pretty much my hood. In fact, specifically the block of Lygon between Faraday and Elgin (there is little else along the rest of the street worth going to save a few choice places). Along this block, at time of writing, I’m holding down six foursquare mayorships so it’s safe to say I own the block (pay me my rent, bitches).

Recently, a rumour was brought to my attention by a friend, she had heard that Borders in Carlton was shutting up shop. Since then, I have noticed that things have been a little strange. Firstly, what is with this explosion of sale items? Now Borders often has bargain books but is it just me or are the bargain bookshelves beginning to overwhelm the store? Secondly, what’s with the coupons and the increase in discounts being sent out to people on their e-mail newsletter? Thirdly, since when do their instore catalogues have coupons inside them also? Instore advertisements over the loudspeaker also seem to be up.

Apart from these questionable things. Has anyone noticed that they haven’t refilled the soap in the bathroom for months? Yes its bloody disgusting, I now use the Lygon Court bathroom, despite it being in a general state of disrepair and uncleanliness, at least it has soap. Today they even removed the soap dispenser from the men’s room altogether. Also, a friend overheard someone making an inquiry at the information desk about placing an order for some books and apparently the shop assistant replied that Borders Carlton no longer orders books in for customers. Zomg! I’ve also noticed that they’ve run out of several prominent authors and haven’t restocked. Murakami? I mean come on, he’s a popular author. Something smells fishy.

This is pure speculation, unless anyone has further information (if so please comment) but if it is the case that Borders Carlton should close it does mean three important and interesting things:

1. It means that Readings won the Mexican standoff. Years ago when Borders opened up right across the road, every Carlton pseudo-intellectual hipster and long-time resident released a shriek of fear. Could Readings close? The dearly loved Carlton institution? Never! Everyone rallied and Readings is as busy as ever (it should be noted that many books are actually cheaper there by a few bucks). If Borders should close it will be another victory for small-town Melbourne soul over international conglomerates. WIN!

2. What will take its place? Borders occupies a huge slab of prime Carlton retail real estate right in the middle of Lygon Court. Huge! The potential is endless. Am I the only one that gets excited by potential store openings (only to be let down by the lame new stores that usually open)?

3. Two words (possibly some of the sweetest in the english language): CLEARANCE SALE!

If you have any information please comment and remember, if Borders should close, you heard it hear first. And if it should remain open… then shut up!

  1. March 16, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    It’s been their plan to reduce non-US stores for a while now. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/23/business/23barnes.html

  2. alexlobov
    March 16, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Interesting, thanks! This article is from three years ago, in that time I haven’t noticed any Borders store closings in Melbourne (there was a store opening in Camberwell during that time though I’m pretty sure). There are no “digital stores” here and Borders recently opened its website (late last year) allowing people to buy books online, but it hasn’t taken off and they’ve been marketing the hell out of it. Perhaps they are finally going to action the store-closing element of this strategy at least.

  3. March 17, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Heheh. That’s right!

    “And if it should remain open… then shut up!”

    Even though Borders is the equivalent of Starbucks in this part of Melbourne (and look what happened to Starbucks Carlton too!) I’d still feel slightly sad at the prospect of a book store closing down. Not because it’s Borders, just that it’s a book store shutting its doors. :(

    The marketing team is doing quite a shitty job at the Borders online store. There is nothing there that’s enticing me to go online and order books even with the free shipping. They could have definitely created more hype around it but I guess the boat’s sailed on this too.

    I totally agree with you on CLEARANCE SALE! WoOt! :D The only good thing to come out of this should the inevitable happen.

  4. alexlobov
    March 18, 2010 at 3:18 am

    I was actually going to make the Starbucks analogy in the post but forgot to. Yes! Another win for Melbourne’s local scene! I know what you mean about bookstores but I guess I separate Borders form the romantic notion of a bookstore because it’s a cynical, profiteering multinational conglomerate.

    The online store is a fail. I tried searching for Camus’ “The First Man” but it kept conking out. Fail. I hate online book shopping. Give me Readings or Brunswick Bound or Brunswick Street Bookstore any day. :-)

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