The company has 50 stores and employed 397 staff, with a turnover of£30 million.
Increasing competition from internet retailers and supermarkets affected profitability and the business found it increasingly difficult to maintain a large network of high street stores.
Joint administrator and Tenon managing director and head of corporate recovery Tom MacLennan said: 'Bookworld, Bargain Books and bw! are long-established brands in the UK book retailing sector. While competition from the internet and supermarkets has triggered the administration, a turnover of£30 million clearly indicates that there is strong demand for discount stores on the high street.'
MacLennan said they will be actively searching for a buyer while continuing to trade. However, eight stores will close with immediate effect and there will be 44 redundancies.
A further four stores will start closing down Sales and will shut at the end of February - with a further 21 redundancies at that stage.
The stores being closed immediately are located at Dumfries, Greenock, Stirling, Inverness, Edinburgh's Princes Mall, Harrow, Tunbridge Wells and Romford. Those being closed at the end of February are located in Bristol, Perth, Manchester and Glasgow's Gordon Street.