Comics A.M. | Borders lists closing stores, assures 'normal' business

Retailing | Struggling bookseller Borders Group, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, told shaken publishers it's developing a long-term plan to "reposition itself," even as it released a list of some 200 stores set to close by the end of April. The closings include 35 locations in California and 15 in metropolitan Chicago. On a website dedicated to the reorganization, the retailer -- the second-largest book chain in the United States -- assures customers that "Borders' Business Operations Continue As Normal."

In its bankruptcy filing, the company listed $1.29 billion in debt and $1.27 billion in assets. It owes $272 million to its 30 largest unsecured creditors, including $41.1 million to Penguin Group. Diamond Book Publishers, which stopped shipping to Borders last month, is on the hook for $3.9 million. [The New York Times]

Retailing | Meanwhile, REDgroup Retail, which owns the Australian booksellers Borders (owned independently of the U.S. chain) and Angus & Robertson, has entered into administration. Angus & Robertson is the country's largest book chain, with more than 180 stores nationwide. [The Australian, Guardian]

Retailing | Cartoonist and publisher Dylan Williams, who once worked at Comic Relief in Berkeley, Calif., writes at length about the store's closing. [Sparkplug Comic Books, via The Comics Reporter]

Awards | National Post book editor Mark Medley talks with Darwyn Cooke, Christopher Butcher and Jeet Heer about the speedy dismissal of Jeff Lemire's Essex County from Canada Reads judges perplexed by its "lack of words." "As several jurors spoke, it was clear that their number one criteria for disqualifying Essex County was … the number of words," Cooke said. "They actually said the book didn’t have enough words to qualify as a book. Travis remarked on the word count and I was blind-sided by the fact that these people seemed unaware that every panel of that book is supported by a script filled with words-the words necessary to create and execute entire panels or scenes without any visible writing. The very process by which such a book is created was unknown to them. Particularly disappointing was Ali Velshi. Considering this cat spends his entire life reading American news off a teleprompter in Atlanta, he might have noticed that Time magazine’s book of the year was a graphic novel … FOUR YEARS AGO." [Afterword]

Conventions | Ammu Kannampilly previews the first Indian Comic Con, being held this weekend in New Delhi, with a snapshot of the country's comics industry. [Agence France-Presse]

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