Book Depot and American Book Company – Together We Are Stronger
August 11, 2022
Over eight months ago already, Book Depot announced the acquisition of American Book Company (ABC), headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee. Until this point, the bargain book industry had never seen an acquisition on this scale, and we are very excited about the positive impact this will have on our customers, publisher partners, employees, and all our stakeholders. As a combined entity, we have over 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space, employ more than 600 team members, and have exclusive arrangements for books from all the major publishers and a host of mid-tier publishing companies. Read on to learn a little more about our history together and why this acquisition is great news for you!
Where It Began
I met Pat O’Connor, President of American Book Company, over 20 years ago at the Spring Book Show in Atlanta, Georgia, even before I was with Book Depot. We instantly built a great rapport, and the friendship has only grown over the years, ultimately culminating in our business deal last December. Not only have we had a great friendship with ABC for many years, but we have done business with each other for over 20 years, with ABC being a key supplier to Book Depot. I believe this is a very important part of the story since this acquisition, or what I personally like to refer to as a partnership, is not two corporate strangers deciding to do a deal and then trying to figure out how to make it work. Prior to December, we intimately knew each other already, both on a personal and a corporate level. Our relationship is one built on years of trust, and it is on this foundation that we have mapped out a plan for the future that will continue to leverage each other’s strengths for the benefit of our customers.
Investing in the Bargain Book Industry
Over the last 12 years, Book Depot has invested over $15M USD in technology and automation to help scale our business and ultimately deliver a better customer experience that provides you with a greater selection of titles and industry best fill rates and delivery times. Having completed the transaction with American Book Company, we are thrilled to be able to deliver on our promise of being a “One Stop Shop” for all your bargain book needs.
As evidenced by our investments over the years, Book Depot continues to take the long-term view on the bargain book industry. We wouldn’t be investing millions of dollars if we didn’t believe in the future of books or the future of our company. Rather than taking out as much of the profits as possible, we continue to invest for the long term in order to deliver the best customer experience in the industry. I’m excited to say that we continue to push the limits of technology. Last year was no exception as we went live with our second book sortation machine and automated carton packing machines. New automation equipment enables us to sort more books, process them quicker, and assist us in providing you with an even better selection of titles.
One Stop Shop
However, all the infrastructure and systems are worthless if we couldn’t offer you the quality product that we have. Together with ABC, we have agreements in place so that shopping here gives you access to bargain books from all the major publishers and many smaller imprints. During the past six months, we added some key new suppliers that have complemented our mix to the point where I am confident in saying that our combined selection has never been better in all the years of being in this business.
Increased Book Selection
One of the exciting things about our partnership with ABC is learning from one another to leverage our unique abilities. ABC has always had access to large amounts of warehouse space, while Book Depot has often been constrained by space over the last ten years. With this acquisition, we will now have a much larger footprint with the lease of a one million square foot distribution center in Jefferson City, TN. This nearly triples our square footage in North America! With more space available to our combined companies, we will be able to purchase even larger deals from the publishers and process even more books. If you shop our website regularly, you will already have noticed a significant increase in the volume of new books available for sale as we have increased our inbound processing in a big way over the past six weeks. These volumes will now be the norm as we streamline our collective operations. Be on the lookout for an avalanche of books in the coming months!
Consistent Book Supply
We’ve spoken a lot about our investment in technology and automation at Book Depot over the years, and I’m excited to share the news that we are already well underway with our first major project at the ABC warehouse in Tennessee. Earlier this year, we signed a contract with one of the big five publishers to begin processing all their US returns as of January 1, 2023. This is by far one of the most exciting initiatives our companies have seen in the last 20 years. We are truly on the verge of a major transformation in the industry. With this contract, retailers in the US will now send their returns directly to our warehouse. We will process the returns on behalf of the publisher and ultimately purchase the books they would have sold us in the ordinary course of our business together.
As freight, warehousing, and labour costs continue to skyrocket, publishers see the need to remove waste out of the supply chain. By partnering together, we can create a more sustainable future for the publishing industry. This will help drive waste out of the supply chain and continue to provide you with a steady supply of fresh new bargain books. As we scale up our returns processing business and roll out our plan with more publishers, we will be working hard to drive costs down in an era of continued price pressure. With more investment in automation, our desire is to ensure that you will continue to have access to bargain books at great prices and with exceptional service for years to come.
“All-In” on the Bargain Book Business
Ultimately, we are delighted to be partnered with American Book Company. This acquisition is part of our ongoing growth strategy to invest in the bargain book industry. As we see continued consolidation in the publishing business, it is becoming clearer that publishers require large partners that can provide turnkey inventory solutions for their remainders, overstocks and returns. Bringing together two of the industry’s key players gives us that ability. We are “all-in” on the bargain book business and look forward to continue serving you, our customers, for many more years to come. Thank you for putting your trust in us over so many years and allowing us to serve you.