Great American Bargain Book Show in Boston Shaping up as Sellout

From: Anvil Publishers, Inc.
Published: Thu Aug 20 2009

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

“Things are looking good,” said show owner Larry May of L.B. May & Associates of Knoxville, Tenn. “Pre-registration is right at 400. That makes it the best-attended summer show we’ve held so far. And to top it off, exhibitors have bought over 400 spaces.”

Pre-registration of book store managers for a training session at which outgoing American Book Association President Gayle Shanks will speak is also near capacity.

May attributes the strong attendance at the upcoming 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.

For a long time the remainder market wasn’t considered a legitimate part of the book trade,” May said. He believes that perception has finally turned around. “Maybe it’s the economy, but retailers have finally realized just how much money they can make in remainders and hurts,” he said.

The global economic recession has given retailers and distributors a much greater incentive to go hunting for deals. As a consequence, one of the few burgeoning areas of the book business other than ebooks is the remainder and hurts market.
While no overall statistics are tracked for the segment - publishers are often reluctant to release details about what they are sending out to be sold on the cheap - anecdotal evidence suggests that the slow holiday sales of last Christmas and the lackluster first two quarters of this year have pushed larger and larger quantities of higher quality books into this secondary market.

Still, remainder buyers are competing for a finite supply. In recent years, the strength of the Euro and other currencies against the dollar has made buying American remainders a bargain, prompting buyers to return to the U.S. numerous times.
May says that in recent years, international participation at his two shows (he also owns the Spring Book Show) has grown dramatically - so much so that he decided to move the Great American Bargain Book Show to Boston from Atlanta, Ga., where it was previously located.

“It’s less hot in Boston in August than in Georgia,” said May, “and because of its proximity to New York, it’s also a much better place to connect international booksellers and buyers.” Within a short drive of Boston are three large remainder warehouses that fairgoers will have the opportunity to visit, including Strictly By-The-Book in Fall River, Mass., World Publications, in Bridgewater, Mass. and Symposium Books in Providence, R.I.

A number of international vendors will be selling remainders, including Caxton and PR Books, as well as Columbia Marketing from the UK and Fairmont Books and Book Depot from Canada.

ABOUT GABBS: 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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