Attendance Up at Great American Bargain Book Show in Boston

From: Anvil Publishers, Inc.
Published: Mon Aug 31 2009

While attendance at most book industry trade shows in 2009 has been down, sometimes precipitously, that was not the case with the Great American Bargain Book Show (GABBS) held at the Hynes Convention Center here on Aug. 21-22.

"We had 268 remainder buyers in attendance representing 189 companies," said show co-owner Larry May of L.B. May and Associates of Knoxville, Tenn. "This was an approximate 35 percent increase over last year's attendance. Of those 189 companies, 81 (43 percent) had never attended one of our shows."

Exhibitors who sell remainders and other bargain books bought over 400 spaces to show their wares to buyers, up 100 tables from the count at the Atlanta show in 2008.

Gayle Shanks, co-owner of Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Ariz., and outgoing president of the American Booksellers Association, was the keynote speaker at an educational seminar for booksellers. "This is going to be a boom time for remainders," she told her audience. At her store, remainder inventory is up 35 percent, and together with used books, comprises 15 percent of sales.

Remainders are a growth business, concurred Julia Halpryn, buyer for TJX, parent company of TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, who came early to buy cookbooks and nonfiction for her outlets.

In a story for Publishers Weekly, correspondent Judith Rosen interviewed Daniel Goldin of Boswell Book Co. of Milwaukee, Wis. "He attended GABBS to fill the categories that tend to have high-priced books like art and academic titles and to find journals and bookmarks," wrote Rosen.

Among the first-time show attendees interviewed by Rosen was buyer Lorna Ruby of Wellesley Booksmith in Wellesley, Mass., who want to add remainders to the store’s inventory mix. Rosen also talked with Ken Kozick, who will open a new and used bookstore, Sheafe Street Books, in Portsmouth, N.H., later this fall, and Ida Arrington, with Word Alive, a church bookstore in Rocky Mount, N.C.

In a story for Shelf Awareness newsletter, Sean Concannon of book rep firm Parson Weems, said "GABBS was a fantastic show for us and for our core remainder house, Symposium Books Wholesale. Keynote speaker Gayle Shanks of Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz., attracted some of our New England customers who are interested in exploring the bargain book business. Bargain books are a proven traffic generator, and that is precisely what all of trade stores need at this point.

"Friday had a brisk business feel to it," May said. "Saturday was slower, but not as slow as most trade show Sundays. "My guess is that 90 percent of the vendors will be back and we'll add new vendors next year to keep the total table count close to where it was this year."

May said he is strongly considering Boston for a repeat performance in 2010. He attributed the strong attendance at the show to the current economy. Bookstores are finding that remainders and bargain books are a profitable way to stay liquid when consumers, strapped for cash, are cutting back on purchases of new hardbacks and trade paperbacks.

"I had a great show," said national sales manager Wren Franklin of Thomas Nelson Bargain Books in Nashville, Tenn., cited by Publishers Weekly. "I had five appointments set up prior to coming to the show, worked through lunch and was very pleased with the size of my orders."

The Great American Bargain Book Show is one of the three largest remainder shows in the United States, staged annually in time for retailers to buy inexpensive stock for marketing during the holiday season. The show is organized by L.B. May & Associates of Knoxville, Tenn. Further information at

Press Contact:
Noel Griese
Anvil Publishers, Inc.
Boston, MA
Company: Anvil Publishers, Inc.
Contact Name: Noel Griese
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 770-938-0289

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