Book chains Borders and Whitcoulls have been put under administration in Australia and New Zealand.

Australian parent company REDgroup Retail, which manages operations in both countries, this afternoon called in voluntary administrators to the business, The Melbourne Age reported.

The jobs of up to 2500 staff are now in doubt, the newspaper said.

REDGroup is controlled by private equity group PEP.

Ferrier Hodgson partners have been appointed voluntary administrators of the group.

Partner Steve Sherman said as far as possible it would be business as usual while the administrators conducted an urgent assessment of the business's financial status, according to a statement.

The separate US-owned Borders chain also collapsed this week but is not linked to the Australian chain.

New Zealand's Whitcoulls chain comprises of 65 stores, 40 of which are located in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, according to its website.

It was first established as Whitcombe and Tombs in 1888 and Coulls Somerville Wilkie in 1871.