While Barnes & Noble wasn't exactly quick to the e-reader game either, by the end of 2009 the company had successfully launched its Nook device. And in the holiday season of 2010, the Nook became Barnes & Noble's best selling item of all time, helping to boost same-store sales 9.7% during the period.

Borders later collaborated with Canadian e-reader Kobo, rolling out the device in stores in June 2010. And it wasn't until last summer that it opened its own e-bookstore.

Chapter 7: Executive Shakeup

Borders' costs related to its new Web site, the upgrade of its Borders Rewards program and the incorporation of new technology in stores weighed significantly on the company's profitability. And while the bold moves were commendable, they effectively stalled the speedy financial recovery that was necessary to revive its core business.

In March 2008, faced with a credit crunch, Borders once again considered a sale of the company, suspended its quarterly dividend, and lined up a $42.5 million infusion from Pershing Square Capital in order to stay in business.

At the time, Barnes & Noble toyed with the idea of merging with its rival, but Borders shelved its plan to sell the company.

Throughout 2008, Borders aggressively closed stores and slashed jobs to cut costs. In an effort to revive its struggling balance sheet, Borders hired Ron Marshall as chief executive in January 2009, hoping to capitalize on his previous success with turning around businesses. Marshall replaced George Jones, who had served as CEO for three years.

This move came as Borders' stock fell under $1 a share and received a warning letter from the New York Stock Exchange.

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