New Borders 'lacks reader friendly vibes'
The Straits Times
STRONG sales and mixed reviews greeted the opening of the new Borders Singapore bookstore at Westgate mall in Jurong East on Monday.
According to a spokesman for the owners, Popular Holdings, about 1,000 people signed up on opening day for a $20 annual membership valid only at the store.
However, some customers The Straits Times spoke to felt that the new Borders Singapore store lacked the reader-friendly atmosphere of the former Borders store at Wheelock Place.
That store was originally part of a United States-based chain known for its reading couches, bistro and book and music events. Operated after 2008 by an Australian group, REDgroup Retail, it closed down in 2011.
"I've always been a fan of Borders and used to patronise the store at Wheelock Place," said Mr Ariff Razak, 29, an operations technician at Senoko Power Station, who has been looking forward to the brand returning to Singapore.
"This is smaller and they lack space for readers to sit and enjoy the books. I miss the previous one where there were a lot of chairs and seating corners."
The Borders Singapore bookstore on the fourth floor of Westgate occupies 8,000 sq ft and is smaller than Prologue, Popular's former flagship lifestyle bookstore.
Prologue opened at ION Orchard in 2009 but vacated its 12,000 sq ft space in August, citing rising rentals and lower profit margins.
Instead, Popular, which is known here for its textbook and stationery retail stores, decided to revive the Borders Singapore brand, which it acquired the right to use last year for an undisclosed sum.
The new Borders Singapore store is open from 10am to 10pm daily and stocks about 16,000 titles in genres from anthropology to comics and fiction. It also retails music CDs and DVDs.
The Epilogue cafe associated with Prologue is back, serving hot drinks and desserts, seating up to 50 people.