The Borders bankruptcy is one issue that the book industry may have wanted to put behind it. But although there were less than six months between the mid-February 2011 filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to the liquidation of the remaining stores, the bankruptcy is far from over. Initially the story of the nation’s then number two bookseller focused on debt and what it might mean for publishing. Combined the 20 largest unsecured publishing creditors were owed roughly $241 million.

Despite the closure of hundreds of stores one and a half years ago, it’s still not clear how much publishers will be paid on the dollar even with Manhattan District Court Judge Martin Glenn’s approval last October of the BGI Creditors’ Liquidating Trust’s request to claw back payments made during the 90-day period before bankruptcy papers were filed. Once again publishers and distributors are among the biggest potential losers, since they are also the biggest suppliers Borders paid in cash and credit during the holiday season and just afterwards.

Since last fall Liquidating Trustee Curtis R. Smith has filed 90-day notices of the status of negotiations for the $485 million paid out to 1,786 suppliers. (Suppliers who received less than $5,850 aren’t part of the Avoidance Action.) Burbage & Weddell LLC, tallied the suppliers and found that 1,200 were paid between $5,850 and $100,000. They also calculated that 72% of the payments went to just 5% of the Borders’s suppliers during the preferential period, which includes two large distributors along with many of the big six.

Some publishers figure prominently on both lists, the largest unsecured creditors and those who received the biggest payments in the 90-day period. (See below.) Random House is owed $33.5 million and was paid $24.3 million; Harper Collins is owed $25.8 million and was paid $14.1 million; and Penguin Putnam is owed $41.1 million and was paid $12.2 million. Not every payment Borders included back in April 2011 in docket 610 qualifies as preferential and needs to be repaid.

Seven mediators have been assigned to facilitate the process. Although it’s not clear yet which publishers have settled and how much they’ve paid, some have asked for extensions or have settled. The most recent report from mid-April, indicates the status of 190 negotiations. Many companies, Baker & Taylor and Sourcebooks among them,are choosing to fight rather than mediate, and adversary cases have been filed by the BGI Liquidating Trust for the full amount plus court costs.

More than two years out, there’s still no indication of how much unsecured creditors might get on the dollar—or when the Borders bankruptcy will officially end.

Top 20 Largest Unsecured Publishing Creditors & Amount of Claim

  1. Penguin Putnam $41,118,914
  2. Hachette Book Group $36,879,656
  3. Simon & Schuster $33,757,445
  4. Random House $33,461,062
  5. HarperCollins $25,793,451
  6. Macmillan/MPS $11,434,306
  7. John Wiley & Sons $11,191,435
  8. Perseus Distribution Services $7,776,292
  9. Source Interlink Companies $6,879,906
  10. F&W Media $4,546,275
  11. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $4,400,756
  12. Workman Publishing $4,003,126
  13. Diamond Comic Distributors $3,906,550
  14. McGraw-Hill $3,093,871
  15. Pearson Education $2,784,766
  16. Rosetta Stone $2,226,553
  17. National Book Network $1,956,713
  18. W.W. Norton & Company $1,940,826
  19. Zondervan $1,886,752
  20. Hay House $1,886,752

Top 15 Largest Publishing Recipients of 90-Day Pre-Bankruptcy Payments and Amounts

  1. Ingram, consolidated $41,619,186
  2. Baker & Taylor, consolidated $26,618,409
  3. Random House $24,288,723
  4. Source Interlink Companies $16,870,502
  5. HarperCollins $14,067,121
  6. Penguin Putnam $12,195,486
  7. Simon & Schuster $10,729,556
  8. Macmillan $6,799,147
  9. Hachette Book Group $4,895,524
  10. Kobo $4,727,613
  11. Perseus Distribution Services $3,743,373
  12. John Wiley & Sons $2,121,193
  13. Melissa & Doug $1,378,425
  14. Publications International $1,183,387
  15. Sourcebooks $1,019,558