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19 Out of 25 Items Increased In Price During the Borders Liquidation Sale

Published
By Lindsay Sakraida, dealnews Features Director

Last week, we adamantly advised against shopping the Borders liquidation sales, and this week we have proof that the store-closing discounts are woefully underwhelming.

Before liquidation began, we visited the Borders store in the Time Warner Center in New York and noted the price of several books and select movies. Then, we returned on Saturday to note the post-"everything must go" prices — and discovered that 19 out of 25 items were cheaper last week, while five were merely consistent. And, not surprisingly, almost none were actually price lows once we compared online.

Below, we've listed a selection of those items, as well as links to where you can find them at the best price available. (Note that the comparison prices below assume free shipping via Amazon Prime or free Walmart Site-to-Store shipping, as applicable.)


Borders Liquidation Price Check

First Week Price*
Second Week Price
Lowest Price Available
The Girl Who Kicked
The Hornet's Nest
$19.57
$25.16
$11.87 at Walmart
$11.88 at Amazon
The Hunger Games
$6.29
$8.09
$4.93 at Walmart
$4.94 at Amazon
Bossypants
$18.89
$18.89
$15.96 at Amazon
The Help
$11.20
$14.40
$8.57 at Amazon
$8.70 at Walmart
Water for Elephants
$10.47
$13.46
$7.77 at Walmart
$8.15 at Amazon
A Visit From
The Goon Squad
$10.47
$13.46
$7.45 at Walmart
$7.45 at Amazon
A Dance With Dragons
$24.50
$24.50
$17.50 at Buy.com
When You Are
Engulfed in Flames
$11.19
$14.39
$9.99 at Amazon
$10.50 at Walmart
Too Big To Fail
$12.60
$16.20
$10.55 at Walmart
$12.24 at Amazon
Unbroken
$18.90
$18.90
$13.48 at Walmart
$13.49 at Amazon
*Prices may factor in a 30% off printable coupon.

Don't Buy Into the Sale

The Borders store-closing discounts are even worse than we originally imagined; the February liquidation sales took 20% to 40% off, but on Saturday, most popular titles only received a meager 10% off — which is laughably low when you consider that Borders offered a 30% off coupon that applied to the list price of those same items just last week. However, select titles that featured "stickered" discounts last week maintained that price for the store-closing sale. (Taking all those stickers off is probably really tedious.)

But this is all moot, because even when comparing the first week prices to the lowest price available online today, every book was still cheaper elsewhere.

However, there was one lone item that improved in the second week: Easy A on Blu-ray Disc. That's because all Blu-ray items received 40% off during liquidation. Upon seeing this, we noted additional Blu-ray titles on Saturday and price checked them this morning; three out of five were price lows at the Borders sale. So, if you're willing to take a chance, this is perhaps the only category where you'll score a deal.

But even though a low is a low, it should be noted that we listed a Borders coupon for 50% off Blu-ray disc movies last month — once again undercutting the strength of this "one-time opportunity to find exceptional discounts" on bookstore goods.


Shop Online Instead

An interesting bit of secondary information that comes from this research: Nearly every book is available at the lowest price either at Amazon (if you have Amazon Prime or can pad your order over $25) or at Walmart (with free Site-to-Store shipping). So instead of shopping the Borders store-closing sales, we recommend staying put and ordering online.

Photo credit: Maureen Lunn via Flickr

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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7 comments
Frank Zentura
Yeah, I picked up on it right away since I'm a regular user of their coupons.  And you can't stack the coupon with the deal.  You're better off going to those large discount booksellers or library sales.
coupons
The Liquidation sale is to get rid of the books at the highest prices they can get and bring up the discounts as time gets closer to the end which, I believe is sometime in September. Many of the unsold books can be returned to the Publisher but the volume of books borders has can be overwhelming to many Publishers with business so slow all over and also affect many other booksellers sales.
lsiglin
Liquidation sales are always a "crap shoot" if you are looking for bargains.  The debtor (Borders) sells their entire inventory to a "Liquidator".  The liquidator takes control of the stores and inventory, hires new people to work the "going out of business" sales, and re-prices all of the merchandise generally much higher than before they took over.  Then over a period of several weeks they slowly increase the discounts until nothing remains. 
tgeorge
Yep.  It's a marketing scam.  I priced anything I was considering buying at the liquidation 'sale' at the borders near my house and every single item was almost 40% cheaper at amazon.  No wonder you're going out of business.  Just be a failure til the very end.  People aren't stupid.  Hence, you're now no longer in business.
Alimo
My daughter wanted to see if they had marked down any Lego, so we checked it out, although I knew better than to expect any bargains. All magazines were 40% off, which wasn't a bad deal, so we picked up a few good reads there.
dealguy
I respectfully disagree with sarahthetran. By the time the prices are truly "deals," the titles you want will have likely been sold to someone who overpaid. So, you'll be left to pick over the kinds of dregs that you can already find at 80% off in Walmart's discount bin.
sarahthetran
this is how it always is though. they start off slow but then they'll increase the % off by the end. when they closed half their stores -- noone went to go buy them in the beginning days. you usually wait til the end for the deals (even though the selection is slim). also when they closed half their stores -- the stores would have 'everything must go' -- but when i asked employees what happened if they didn't sell it all -- they said that the books/cds/etc would get shipped to the warehouse and redistributed to remaining stores to sell -- so it wasn't really 'everything MUST go' haha.

anyway -- the point is -- i have faith. they're no longer gonna be around -- so they'll do the customers right by the end with prices. finding comparison prices right now is useless.
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