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Shoppers still waiting for deals at Borders

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A customer walks by a Borders outlet in San Francisco last week. Borders has begun a liquidation sale, but the bargains so far appear to be limited.

Borders is GOING OUT OF BUSINESS with a massive liquidation sale and prices UP TO 40 PERCENT OFF, according to signs at the remaining 399 stores in the once-giant chain of bookstores. So where are all the deals?

That is what some shoppers want to know after checking out the goods over the weekend, after the sale officially started.

Secret shoppers at dealnews.com have been haunting the aisles of the Borders outlet at Time Warner Center in New York City and found that prices on 19 out of 25 items they sampled have gone up instead of down.

A hardcover copy of mystery bestseller "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," for example, was priced at $25.16 Saturday, up from $19.57 the previous week. "The Help," another best-selling novel, was marked at $14.40, up from $11.20 a week earlier.

Both books were available for far less online at Wal-Mart or Amazon.com, -- $11.87 for "Hornet's Nest" and $8.57 for "The Help."

It is not a huge surprise to learn that the liquidation sale is starting slowly. Liquidation sales often are run by outside parties that typically reset prices and then mark them down gradually over the course of the sale, which could last six to eight weeks. Any remaining inventory can be sold wholesale to pay off creditors, so the liquidator may not have an incentive to sell out every last book, record and DVD.

If you are looking for a magazine, it might be a good time to stop into your local Borders -- several sources report that magazines are marked off 40 percent.

Have you been to Borders in the past few days? What did you find?