Borders, bye bye

Borders plans to close its Fremont and Union City stores along with 198 more as it heads into bankruptcy.

Get the entire closure list here.

In Union City, that leaves readers the public library.

In Fremont, you’ll still have homegrown Half-Priced Books in Pacific Commons, along with an Islamic bookstore on Peralta and a Christian bookstore on Sundale.

Matt Artz


  1. This is sad. I remember moving to Fremont when all we had was a B. Dalton over in New Park Mall. I was so glad when we finally got B&N.

  2. The ol’ Book Mark at The Hub. Now is the time. She will rise again!

  3. Aw 🙁 Borders was my high school hang out back in the day. Well, I’m now in my mid-20’s so at least I can do other stuff… but still.

  4. It makes me sad to know that bookstores are closing everywhere. One would think that an urban area with a high level level of education would support bookstores. However, in Berkeley Cody’s shut down, and in Palo Alto three bookstores shut down leaving only Borders downtown and the Stanford bookstore on campus. Perhaps a contributing factor is the loss of attention span created by computers and data communication.

    In the late 1970’s when I was a post-doc at Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering, I had a discussion with a couple of graduate students. The conclusion was that computers were really going to take off when they became communications devices. I made a second career at Hewlett-Packard based on this idea. However, over time I realized that the solution to today’s problem will become tomorrow’s problem. That is, the communication problems solved by the computers and data networks resulted in the loss of bookstores three decades later. I never foresaw that outcome. Too bad!

  5. The good news is the Fremont Main Library is still open and thriving. Books, DVDs and CDs at no cost. It’s called your tax dollars at work.

    Well, the last time I looked it was still open.


  6. OOPS
    Book Stores, Newspapers, Post Offices are being eliminated by the computer.
    B&N contributed to there own demises with there NOOK electronic device that holds several books. No need for a hard copy.
    Alvin Toffler predicted this malady in his book called “Future Shock”
    He predicted that Technology will happen so fast it will be difficult to keep up with it. Thus creating Future Shock. How many of you had your grand kids show you how to operate a new electronic device. I am still trying to figure out my Zune.
    Is this a good thing, damned if I know!

  7. The good news is that there is an ever-present yin and yan to the cycles of consumerism.


    NPR ran an interesting piece recently on the impact that e-readers are having on the market and, interestingly, the largest target audience for these products is NOT the typical every-day book-nik who is building a library of his/her own, but, is more akin to the casual traveler who picks up one of the “throw-aways” in the airport bookstore . . . only, who will now order one up on their friendly e-reader. . . .

    Personally, we order plenty of print books while supporting the efforts of our college-aged kids . . . but, none are ordered at the local (or even the college) bookstore.

    I speculate that increasing numbers of consumers are also waking up to the savings afforded by ordering goods online. While my neighbors and I make fewer trips downtown to B&N and other retailers, Fed-Ex, UPS and other delivery services make an almost daily trip up and down our street.

  8. Good riddance. Ok, now someone re-open The Bookmark and let’s get back the good life. 🙂

  9. For those who need a magazine fix, try The Bottle Shop on Fremont Blvd. None too shabby.

  10. 1. There’s a Christian bookstore in Niles. My Father’s Attic, I believe.

    2. Borders and BN killed many independent bookstores. I shed no tears as the internet and widespread book sales (Target, Safeway, Walmart, Costco, ad nauseum) do the same to them. Their deaths will not bode well for the independents, though, as publishers die from unpaid debt.

    3. I buy hard copies. When Borders dies, their DRM-tainted ebooks will be maintained by Kobo, that is till Kobo dies. Then you can say goodbye to your extensive ebook library.

    4. Borders are often shabby and disorganized, filled with free-internet leeches. It’s creepy.

    5. People read more than ever. Attention spans may or may not be down, but Americans are highly literate. That’s why supermarkets carry books – they sell.

  11. The saddest part is these soon to be empty retail spaces may soon be occupied by a T.J. Max or another Asian (all you can eat) buffet. Thanks to the anti development mob Fremont is on its way to becoming the Flint Michigan of the Bay Area. High end developers have been chased away by the likes of (the Fremont Citizens Network) who killed the ballpark project along with any hopes of any upscale stores (Whole Foods) or restaurants ever coming here. Welcome to purgatory my friend the FCN has got its way!

  12. I stopped by Borders last night to do some impulse shopping. As the cashier rang up my purchases, I noticed that was putting a big X through the barcode on the book covers (not the peel-off tag, mind you, but she was putting an X over the original barcode on the slip covers). I said: “Please, don’t deface the book that I’m buying.”

    Now, there were “ALL SALES FINAL” signs posted all over the store, and the cashier said that management had told them to do this because they were afraid customers would visit a Borders that wasn’t closing to return them (all sales final, you know!). Hello! You need a receipt to return something, and wouldn’t it say “Fremont Borders” on it? She didn’t have an answer for that one, so I had her call the manager.

    While waiting for the manager to come over, the cashier dutifully put an X on another book that I was going to purchase! At which point I said: “I’m asking you not to do that.” Her reply that those were her orders. I asked: “”That’s all very well and good, but your’e being laid off when the store closes — what are they going do, fire you if you don’t follow their orders?” It was cruel of me to say this, I admit, but I was getting really annoyed with this cashier’s sheep-like attitude.

    The manager came over, and confirmed that they were ordered to do this by corporate. I’m afraid our “discussion” got a bit heated. Finally, I gave up and walked away from the counter, leaving the books there. As I departed,the manager said “All SALES ARE FINAL, sir!” I pointed out that I hadn’t tendered any money, so the sale hadn’t been completed. At which point the manager glared at the helpless cashier. I guess they forgot to explain to her that were only supposed to deface our books *after* they’ve taken our money.

    I probably wouldn’t have minded them doing this if they were selling them for half-price. But they wanted full price, plus the privilege of putting an X on the slip cover. $200 impulse sale lost. Defaced books back on shelf. Too funny! Too sad.

  13. Good for you bewwulf! I would have dropped my pants and waved two middle fingers before I stormed out, but I often go to far with things.

    I don’t think there’s ever been more of a buyers market exhibited than the current Borders-customer relationship. They should treat you better.

  14. If you’re seeking a non-Amazon online bookstore, consider the Strand or Powell’s, both independent bookstores with extensive and competitively priced inventories. I feel no sadness at the decline of another icon of corporate greed, but I am sad that Fremont residents now have nowhere to browse leisurely through books. Half-Price is all right, but far away from residential areas, and has a limited inventory.



    Is it at all a priority for our city leaders to attract an independent bookseller to Fremont? If Mountain View can keep Kepler’s going, why can’t we resurrect the Book Mark? I spent many happy hours there as a kid, it would be wonderful to see it return. Would Fremont Bank underwrite a loan to a small local bookstore?

  15. I went by Borders yesterday, complete crowd scene. The lines at both sets of registers extended across the store and back some, as we left I saw one line had developed two tails and people were starting to say “What happened? Did we lose our place?!!” Was not worth a 30 minute or more wait for the paltry discount. The whole scene was sad for me, I’ve enjoyed going there. At least we still have Half Price Books, can always find something fun to read there.

  16. In Charlie C’s comment (number 13), he makes a couple of errors. First, the Fremont Citizens Network had nothing to do with Whole Foods changing its goal of building a store in the Monument Center (Fremont Blvd. at Washington) in Fremont. That was the decision of Whole Foods. Luckily, this strip mall is doing well, and all of the shops are occupied.

    The second error concerns the proposed baseball stadium. The proposal for the stadium included over 3000 houses and 500,000 square feet of retail space west of 880. The stadium was a diversion.

    In both cases funds were needed from the Redevelopment Agency for the projects. That means that public funds in the form of property taxes were to be used for both the Whole Foods project as well as the housing and retail project that might have included a stadium. If these projects were to be successful in the free market, they should not have needed any help from public funds from the Redevelopment Agency.

  17. To some it is sad that bookstores are fading, to other’s it’s the evolution of technology that happens in cycles… if you embrace change, you’ll find that online book readers can save trees and create less storage space (no bookshelves) and save you money, if you prefer a tangible book, that’s your choice too. The typewriter is gone, replaced by computers… gas cars may get less desirable due to electric/hybrid models. I personally find the evolution of technology fascinating and feel very excited to think how much more it will change in the coming years and how great it is to live here in Fremont, in the Silicon Valley. Companies go bankrupt for many reasons, life goes on… I choose to be optimistic.

  18. I googled this post after having a really bad experience at a Borders closing sale even worse than the one beowulf888 posted. I hadn’t read up on the sale online but I happened to be at the mall to buy something else and thought I’d stop at Borders before I left since I love books. I selected several books and took them to the cash register. The employee said NOTHING to indicate they would be marking my books. I paid with a credit card and AFTER I paid (at which point I would consider them to be legally MY property) started marking over the bardcode with a marker. At which point I said that I no longer wanted the books and wanted my credit card purchased voided as I keep my books in collectible condition and that if they were going to damage the books they should do so before I paid. The salesperson was quite rude and got angry at me blah blah blah it’s so you can’t return it. I said that’s fine so cancel the sale if you are going to damage the merchandise AFTER I paid for it. Finally a manager came over and voided the transaction but was very rude about it. How was it even LEGAL for them to without warning damage the merchandise after I had already paid for it? Oh and they wouldn’t give me a receipt to show the transaction was voided so I will have to carefully watch my credit card bill…

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