Costco Plans to Sell Books Only From September to December

Posted on June 8, 2024

A move by Costco to sell books less frequently may land another blow to authors and publishers. A story in the New York Times says four publishing executives told them they were informed of the retail giant's plans to "stop selling books regularly."

The article says Costco plans to only sell books during the holiday shopping period from September to December. They would not consistently sell books during any other month of the year. The article says "some books may be sold at Costco stores from time to time, but not in a consistent manner." This sounds awful. People don't just read books only from September to December. The inconsistent books Costco might sell during January to August could be a publisher promotion of some type or a store manager's choice. We don't know for sure because Costco isn't talking to the press about this decision.

USA Today confirmed Costco's plans with a publishing company. Part of the issue is that Costco apparently finds selling books too labor intensive. USA Today says, "Each title has to be unboxed and stacked by hand, whereas other products are simply rolled out on pallets." Oh no! Stacking books? That's so exhausting. We suspect publishers might be willing to send them a group of books on a pallet if Costco asked.

Costco largely carried big A-list titles so the pain will probably impact bestselling authors and their publishers the most. Unfortunately, it means shrinkage for the book industry. Publishers Weekly notes that Costco "has been a significant book retailer for decades" and reminds everyone of the buyer Pennie Clark Ianniciello's Pennie's Pick that ended in 2021.

Books may get hard to find for Costco shoppers next year that is until September when they arrive again for the holidays like a pumpkin spice latte.

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