Buying wholesale books in bulk is a cost-effective solution for book resellers, educators, churches, libraries and charities. When buying wholesale, businesses can purchase large orders of books at 30 to 70% off the cover price. These deep discounts are especially helpful to religious and educational organizations operating on limited budgets. Books generally available through wholesalers include textbooks, kid's books, trade paperbacks, and religious texts, as well as audio and visual teaching materials. Wholesale outlets typically only sell to businesses with government-issued reseller's licenses and nonprofit organizations with proof of tax-exempt status.
Most wholesale books are in good condition, sometimes in like-new or excellent condition. These overstock titles are removed from retail shelves to clear the way for new inventory. Eventually the books are sold off at a fraction of the original price through wholesalers. The books are shipped direct to buyers in large cardboard containers known as "gaylords." Types of wholesale books available at any given time may vary depending on the wholesale supplier's current inventory.
Mass market trade paperbacks are one category of wholesale books. These are usually by popular, well-known authors and may include mystery, western and romance novels, nonfiction, and titles that have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Most of these titles are the ones found in hotel and airport gift shops, grocery stores and drugstores. The books mostly contain no illustrations, only text. Wholesalers typically ship books from this category in quantities of approximately 800 to 1,000 books per gaylord.
Another category is trade and hardback wholesale books. These are usually of a larger size than mass market paperbacks, and in fact can come in a variety of different sizes. Several titles are available in hardcover. This category includes textbooks, instructional books, technical manuals, computer books, self-help, medical books, law books, autobiography, nonfiction and fiction novels, among others. The books are frequently popular titles and bestsellers, and are shipped at 600 to 800 books per gaylord.
The children’s wholesale books category is mostly softcover titles by well-known authors of children's books. These may range in size from small pocket-size paperbacks to larger books, with a few titles available in hardcover. This category might also include books that come with activities for kids. Wholesalers quite frequently include puzzles and toys for children in orders from this category. A gaylord of kid's books contains approximately 1,000 items.
Many book wholesalers also sell VHS tapes, audio CDs and DVDs at deeply discounted prices. Items from this category are most often a grab-bag type of assortment. An order might contain a variety of items from children's movies to popular Hollywood titles, instructional videos and exercise tapes. Most are in good condition and playable. With containers priced at approximately $50 to $80 US Dollars (USD), each individual item winds up costing only a few cents. A gaylord from this category usually contains about 1,000 CDs, DVDs, and videotapes.
When buying wholesale books, the most sizable portion of the purchaser's cost is shipping fees. Because the large, sturdy gaylord boxes can measure up to 48 by 40 by 36 inches (122 by 102 by 92 cm), they are quite heavy when full. Often, the cost of shipping will be considerably more than the cost of the books. To help reduce shipping costs, most wholesale book warehouses have distribution houses located in a nearby city.