(FILES) This March 4, 2011 file photo shows pedestrians as they pass by a Borders book store with signs announcing that it will be cloing its doors, in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Borders CEO Mike Edwards bid farewell to the book retailer’s fans and customers as the company announced it was going out of business after 40 years. As Hayley Tsukayama reported :

Borders CEO Mike Edwards wrote a final farewell to Borders Rewards Members, notifying customers that the book retailer is going out of business after 40 years.

Edwards didn’t beat around the bush when it came to his explanation of Borders’ decline. He said the company faced the rise of e-readers, a changing book industry and an overall bad economy, adding, “We put up a great fight, but regrettably, in the end, we weren’t able to overcome these external forces.”

Borders closed dozens of its stores — including several in the D.C. area — in January, my Post colleague Michael Rosenwald reported. Late to the game with e-readers, the company never saw the same success with digital books as its archrival Barnes and Noble has with the Nook, and fell too far behind Amazon’s Kindle to compete.

For those who love books and reading, there’s a certain sadness that comes with reading the company’s final goodbye today, which seems as sentimental and heartfelt as a corporate communication can be.

“My sincerest hope is that we remain in the hearts of readers for years to come,” Edwards wrote.

Liquidation sales on books and store fixtures are beginning today at Borders bookstores nationwide. As AP explained:

Borders Group begins liquidation sales at all of its 399 stores as the 40-year-old chain winds down operations.

A liquidation company that is part of the process said late Thursday that the sales will be held starting Friday at all 259 Borders superstores, 114 Borders Express and Waldenbooks, and 26 Borders airport stores.

Gordon Brothers Group, part of a group of liquidators leading the sales, says more than $700 million of the company’s inventory, including books, stationery, music and movies will be sold.

Store fixtures, furnishings and equipment, including shelving and, in some cases, café equipment, will also be sold off

Discounts of up to 40 percent off will be offered on the merchandise initially. Liquidation sales typically last eight to ten weeks and discounts usually get steeper later in the process, although merchandise is scarcer.

Borders gift cards will be valid throughout the sale.

“This marks the end of an era,” said Borders Group President Mike Edwards.

LeVar Burton, former star of the PBS show ‘Reading Rainbow’ expressed his sadness at Borders’ demise. As Sarah Anne Hughes reported:

LeVar Burton is shedding a tear today. The “Star Trek” actor, who encouraged kids to read for over two decades on PBS’s “Reading Rainbow,” mourned the death of Borders to his 1.6 million Twitter followers.

After filing for bankruptcy in February, the major book-shilling chain announced this week it would be liquidating its inventory and going out of business. Books-a-Million might buy a handful of the chain’s stores, but thousands of people are still losing their jobs. And many others are losing one of the places they read magazines for free while drinking coffee.

While the cancelation of “Rainbow” was tragic, I’m sure kids will still “take a look” for what’s “in a book.” Even with Borders gone, LeVar.

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