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Books-A-Million Seeks Westward Expansion With Purchase Of 35 Borders Stores

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In a week filled with bad news for Borders, here’s one possible bright spot: Birmingham, Ala.–based bookseller Books-A-Million may rescue up to 35 Borders stores from liquidation.

Once Borders shutters, Books-A-Million will officially be the nation’s second-largest bookstore chain, after Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS). Acquisition of some Borders stores would allow it to expand its presence in the Northeast and West.

At Borders’ liquidation hearing today, Borders attorney Andrew Glenn said that, in a “late-breaking development,” Books-A-Million had made an offer for around 30 stores, with the option to buy five more. BAMM would “purchase the inventory, furniture, fixtures, equipment and leases” of those stores. About 1,000 to 1500 Borders employees (out of 10,700) would get to keep their jobs.

Publishers Marketplace has a list of the stores that would be saved (paywall), including seven stores in Pennsylvania and stores in Atlantic City, NJ and San Diego. The court still has to approve the sale of the stores.

Books-A-Million currently operates 210 stores, primarily in the South. If it buys all 35 Borders stores under consideration, it would be staking out a presence in California, Oregon, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Delaware, Connecticut and Maine for the first time.

The liquidation of the remaining Borders stores could begin as early as tomorrow, and all Borders locations will be closed by the end of September.