Waldenbooks (often referred to as Waldens), operated by the Walden Book Company, Inc., was an American shopping mall-based bookstore chain and a subsidiary of Borders Group. The chain also ran a video game and software chain under the name Waldensoftware as well as a children's edutainment chain under Walden Kids. In 2011 the chain was liquidated in bankruptcy.
On March 4, 1933, Lawrence Hoyt (1902–1983), a former sales manager for Simon and Schuster, opened a rental library in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Within fifteen years, it had grown to over 250 locations. In 1962, he opened a bookstore; by 1981, it had become the first bookstore chain to have stores in every state. In 1969, it was purchased by the Broadway Hale Stores, a California chain of department stores. For a time it was owned by the retail conglomerateCarter Hawley Hale.
In 1984, Waldenbooks acquired the Brentano's chain, and later that year was itself acquired by Kmart. During the 1980s, Waldenbooks expanded including additional chains including WaldenSoftware, WaldenKids, Waldenbooks & More, they also acquired the U.S. Stores of the Canadian bookstore chain Coles...the book people! In 1992, Walden opened 9 book superstores under the Basset Book Shop name, ultimately these stores were converted to Borders after the merger. In 1994, Kmart merged Waldenbooks and Borders, another chain it had acquired, forming the Borders-Walden Group. In 1995, the renamed Borders Group was able to buy back its stock and it was listed independently on the New York Stock Exchange.
After 2004, many Waldenbooks locations were re-branded as Borders Express stores. Borders Group, in an attempt to increase profits and lower the overall expense of their Waldenbooks brand, also announced that it was downsizing the Waldenbooks chain to respond to the current "competitive environment". As of January 2010, 182 stores had been closed.
On July 18, 2011, Borders Group filed for liquidation to close all of its remaining Waldenbooks and other stores. Liquidation commenced on July 22, 2011.