Costco May Stop Selling Books Year-Round. Here’s Why.


Starting in January, what was once a year-round section at Costco could become a seasonal occurrence.

The New York Times reports that Costco’s famous book table may cease to be a regular fixture in stores around the U.S. starting next year, and only return around the holiday season, from September to December.

Though Costco has not announced the change as of press time, four major publishing executives revealed the news to The Times on Wednesday.

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The sources said that Costco was making the shift because of the labor it takes to restock the table to keep it filled with relevant books. Costco employees have to stock books by hand, which makes the section more time-consuming to lay out than others.

The pace of the book cycle is also labor-intensive: Employees have to return books that haven’t been sold and restock new ones every week.

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The change could noticeably impact book sales: Costco orders books in bulk, in the tens if not hundreds of thousands.

Costco’s book section on May 4, 2006. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Shoppers have praised Costco’s signature table of books for providing a moment to recharge and being a place to get good deals on boxed sets.

Some have even said that prices and options in the Costco book section are better than what Amazon has to offer, even though Costco’s one-aisle library is much smaller than Amazon’s extensive digital catalog.

Related: Costco Launching Weight Loss Program, Ozempic Prescriptions

Though Costco may soon stop selling books regularly across the U.S., it has already implemented the change for years in two U.S. states: Hawaii and Alaska.

Costco discontinued selling books in those states in 2022, after over 30 years of having them in stock, due to logistics issues and declining sales.

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