Whitcoulls and Borders are in voluntary administration in New Zealand and Australia.
The Whitcoulls book chain is one of New Zealand's oldest retailers, dating back to 1882.
The private equity owners of REDGroup retail, which owns Whitcoulls, Borders and Bennetts, placed themselves under administration on Thursday.
Ferrier Hodgson was appointed as administrators by Pacific Equity Partners.
Last year, REDgroup posted a full-year loss of $NZ57 million. The administrators say it will be business as usual while the group's financial status is assessed.
The book chains operate about 260 stores and employ 2500 staff in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.
In New Zealand, there are 65 Whitcoulls stores and five Borders.
The news comes a day after the Borders chain collapsed in the United States.