In the last round of Borders’s store closings late last month, the chain shut the doors on 400 stores and had to get rid of $431 million worth of inventory. But what’s perhaps even more interesting about all these stores being vacated–and what’s sometimes lost in the discussion in favor of the whole “Print Books/Bookstores Are Dying!” lamentation–is that a lot of real estate just opened up. 6.8 million square feet, to be exact.
6.8 million square feet is the equivalent of 118 football fields, 123 White Houses, or 8 Buckingham Palaces.
Or, if you’re a big landowner, here’s a 156 acre tract of land in Wythe County, Virginia that’s the exact same amount of land that Borders has just freed up. The Virginia property will only set you back $700,000!
So, what to do with all this land? In a blog post last month, we entertained the idea that Pop-up bookstores could fill some of the stores, at least temporarily. And Books-A-Million, who didn’t pull its bid to take over the inventory and leases of 30 Borders stores until late in the chain’s liquidation process, is certainly being proactive about Borders’s store vacation: last week, three Borders stores (Bridgeport, WV; Erie, PA; Concord, NC) were filled by Books-A-Million. Other possible occupants for the empty bookstores are the clothing store H&M and the Maine-based retail entertainment chain Bull Moose. And finally, in Tennessee, Vanderbilt’s bookstore (which is operated by Barnes & Noble) moved into a former Borders location.