Spring Book Show Founder Discusses Remainder Book Market

From: Anvil Publishers, Inc
Published: Fri Mar 12 2010

Far more books are sold at a discount from retail than are sold at the suggested cover price - and a large percentage of the discounted books end up in the remainder market.

Larry May, founder of the Spring Book Show, scheduled for the Cobb Galleria Centre in North Atlanta on March 26-28, knows the remainder business. Formerly an executive with the 100-store Book Warehouse chain that specialized in remainders, he founded Atlanta's Spring Book Show 12 years ago. Following is what he told the Southern Review in an interview.

Q. What kind of booksellers and books are found at the Spring Book Show?

A. (Larry May) We specialize in remainders, hurts, returns, promotional and white sales. We also have sidelines - calendars, reading glasses, music (CDs), cards, stationery, pens and other writing instruments. There are a few close-out companies that will sell anything that they think someone will buy at a discount - package deals, audio books, videos, you name it.

Q. How many book buyers will be at the show this year?

A. Total show attendance should be around 800 to 1,000. About 400 of those will be serious buyers. Vendors account for 500 booth spaces.

Q. How far do your book buyers come?

A. So far, we have buyers coming from Japan, Korea Great Britain, Canada, Nigeria, Ireland, France and Australia. By the time the show oepens, we should add a few more countries.

Q. Can you name a few of the sellers who we can expect to see there?

A. Among the vendors would be A1 Overstock, Book Country Clearing House, Book Depot, Book$mart, Daedalus, Fairmount Books, SAS and Associates, S & L Sales, Strictly by-the Book, Texas Bookman, Thomas Nelson Bargain Books and World Publications - to mention a few.

Q. What are the origins of the show?

A. The show grew out of a cooperative called Affiliated Value Booksellers. There were about 40 members who formed a buying group and would have a conference twice a year. At one of the meetings, we would invite vendors to come to the hotel and display their product to the members of the group - it was a "member only" showing. In the mid-90s, the group disbanded and I took the small show and built it into a bigger one.

Q. Do particular genres do better than others once they become remainders?

A. I would say that it exactly mirrors the general trade book industry. What sells well in the general trade industry sells well at our show. Of course, the reason we have a show is because the publisher didn't sell enough of something, overprinted, allowed returns or they need to turn books into cash. I must say this about the book industry, I don't care how good an author is - their books will end up being handled somewhere along the line by one of our vendors. It is inevitable. We feel that our vendors, our show, our industry gives the book additional "lives."

Q. What's the state of the remainder book industry at the moment?

A. The remainder business has benefited from the economic recession. Consumers not only have less dollars to spend on books and other entertainment – they’ve also become accustomed to discounted prices for books. Retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart and Target have engaged in price wars that brought down the price of hardcover best-sellers. In order to compete, both independent bookstores and some of the chain stores have become more reliant than ever on remainders, where the markup is usually higher than it is on newly issued books from publishers.

Q. What does the internet do for the remainder book industry?

A. The innovative remainder dealers have made good use of the internet. They use it to sell wholesale, business to business, and to sell retail, business to consumer. But perhaps the major development has been the entry of many small players into the remainder business. There are literally housands of people now who have entered the book retailing business by selling remainders through Amazon.com stores, on eBay and via other Internet outlets.

About the Spring Book Show: The Spring Book Show is the largest of three bargain book shows held in the United States. It is staged annually in the spring to permit retailers to buy inexpensive stock for marketing during the summer "beach read" season. The show is organized by L.B. May & Associates of Knoxville, Tenn. Further information at www.springbookshow.com

Press Contact:
Noel Griese
Anvil Publishers, Inc
Knoxville, TN
Company: Anvil Publishers, Inc
Contact Name: Noel Griese
Contact Email: ngriese@anvilpub.com
Contact Phone: 770-938-0289

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