Costco’s latest magazine has an article about their book department and how they choose books that you’ll want to read. To make it easy for you, I’m going to give you some snippets.
First off, every title is chosen by only four buyers, all avid readers. The head buyer, Pennie Clark, has been with Costco for almost 20 years.
Here’s some other interesting tidbits –
Costco is now one of the top five booksellers in the U.S. Costco moves tens of thousands of books every week.Costco buyers don’t just order books, they have deep relationships with publishers. They have long meetings with the major houses and discuss not just the big names, but the regional and local authors. According to the article, it’s not unusual for Costco to purchase 20 to 25 percent of a new book’s first printing.
Every book at Costco is sold with savings between 30 to 60 percent off the suggested retail cover price.
Book selection is limited to about 200 titles at a time.
Selections are skewed toward slightly more upscale readers.
According to Jeff Rogart, HarperCollins vice president of sales,
“Costco is consistently one of our top retailers for total sales and frequently ranks number one or number two on individual titles.”And a final note about the article…although they have authors come in for signings and they like to choose books by unknown authors as well as big name authors, the article mentions only big names when they talk about in-store signings – Presidents Clinton, Carter and Fox (Mexico), as well as Tony Curtis and Mike Huckabee.
I saw nothing in the article about how an author or small press could get into Costco, but if you’re with a major house, your chances, although slim without a big following already, seem better than if your small press published.