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Booksellers on the verge of bankruptcy as new digital publishing platforms emerge

DOUGLAS, S.C. — A bookstore chain has been shut down by a bankruptcy judge, after losing more than 100 stores in the past year and a half.

The owner of the Lexington County-based bookstore, the Northwoods Bookshop, announced Friday that it had closed its doors, citing “a lack of sales, inventory and operating income” from its three-store operation.

The bankruptcy filing says the company filed for Chapter 11 protection in the state of South Carolina on May 11, 2016, after it filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2017.

The Lexington County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to allow the store to liquidate on April 15, 2018, but the bankruptcy judge’s order Friday would allow the retailer to liquidation be completed before the end of the month.

It said in a court filing that Northwoods had made significant losses in its operations since May 2016 and that it has “failed to recover its assets and has been unable to provide sufficient funding to maintain operations.”

The company is seeking bankruptcy protection from the state.

The Northwoods’ bankruptcy filing did not provide details of the company’s financial position or what the proceeds of the liquidation would be.

Northwoods had about 3,400 employees and operated stores in Lexington, Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Charleston and South Carolina.

Its website lists the business name as “Northwoods Bookstore” and said the business was founded in 1974.

The Northwoods was the first bookstore chain to open in North Carolina, which has the largest number of small bookstores in the country.

The South Carolina chain was the only one to survive.

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