Costco Drops Product Line Sparking Concern Among Shoppers

Retail giant Costco will be phasing out a product that was once a department store staple, causing consternation amongst customers and industry experts.

Big Changes at Costco

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If you’re a big reader who likes to check out the latest offerings at your local Costco, you may have to change your shopping habits. The multination retail chain has announced that it will no longer stock books in its stores year-round.

No More Year-Round Books

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According to a report by the New York Times, Costco will cease its year-long book sales starting in January 2025. Anonymous publishing industry executives shared the news after being informed by retail representatives.

Only for the Holidays

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From now on, books will no longer be sold consistently, instead only being stocked during the last four months of the year (holiday period) and special one-off promotions.

Easing Labor Strains Across the Company

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The publishing executives explained that the changes had been made to help ease labor strain across outlets, by taking away the need to continuously restock and turn around bookshelves.

A Nationwide Change

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While the new initiative is expected to begin nationwide in January, it has already begun in some locations. It was reported that some stores in Hawaii and Alaska have already removed book inventory from circulation.

Industry Alarm Bells

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The new announcement rang alarm bells for customers and the publishing industry, which has come under immense pressure in recent years as book-reading rates fall across the general population.

Reddit Reacts

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When the news was announced on Reddit, many users commented in anger over the decision, likening the removal to a hypothetical situation where Costco might remove their $1.50 hot dog-and-soda combo.

Striking a Nerve

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This $1.50 foodcourt bundle is a classic staple of the retail brand, which shows how the book sales announcement has struck a nerve with some customers.

Sad News for Booklovers

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It will no doubt be a shock to book lovers who turn to Costco for popular published work. The retail chain will cease selling books in a whopping 611 stores across the US.

Not a Surprise to Everyone

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However, the top comment on Reddit acknowledged that the news should not be a surprise for observant shoppers.

Already Shrinking Over Time

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“Not surprised to hear that as they have been shrinking the book section for a long time. It used to take up 1/2 to 3/4 of a row but now it’s 1/4 of the row,” the commenter wrote.

Blow After Blow for Literary Industry

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Industry representatives have also expressed concerns over the announcement, and the implications it may have for an industry that has been dealt continuous consumer blows over the years.

Still Appealing to Mainstream Consumers?

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Publishing industry analyst Thad McIlroy explained that selling books via retail giants like Costco and Target helped to bolster the impression that books were still appealing to mainstream consumers.

“A Point of Pride”

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“It was sort of a point of pride within the industry, that books are not just elitist, books had a really solid mass market play,” McIlroy said.

“Not a Good Thing”

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“It really meant a lot to the industry that Costco was a strong outlet,” he continued. “And to have it turned into just Christmas gifts, that’s not a good thing.”

Dwindling in the Public Consciousness

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Literary agent Robert Gottlieb also described the news as another example of how the prominence of books in the public consciousness was dwindling in the US, resulting in fewer opportunities for authors, publishers, and agents.

“A Big Outlet for Books”

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“Costco across the country was a big outlet for books,” Gottlieb told the New York Times. “There are now fewer and fewer places to buy books in a retail environment.”

Falling Print Rates

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Costco’s decision does appear to be a follow-on of nationwide retail trends. According to an industry report from market research company Circana, the literary industry’s print volume fell by 3% in 2022.

A Tough Time to be a Publisher

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“It’s a really tough time to be a publisher, regardless of your size,” McIlroy added. “So having something like this kick you in the face when you’re down is not a good thing.”

No Response from Costco

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Though the new decision has been confirmed by external sources, Costco representatives have yet to directly confirm or comment on the news.

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The postCostco Drops Product Line Sparking Concern Among Shoppers first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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