Bookpeople, the West Coast wholesaler that has been struggling to stay in business since filing for Chapter 11 last August, is winding down operations and expects to close by March 15. The company said it was unable to find an investment partner or buyer who could provide the necessary financing.

Bookstores have until March 5 to return books and have until March 15 to buy books against their credit. Bookpeople said it will return books to publishers 'as quickly as practicable' after returns are processed. Bookpeople was founded 33 years ago and supplied books to independent bookstores on the West Coast.

Bookpeople's Words Distribution Company and the fulfillment service will continue to operate from the company's Oakland, Calif., warehouse. The company is reported to be close to reaching an agreement to sell Word, although no deal has been completed.