Choice Books exceeds 5 million books

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Inspirational book distributor successful in California

Choice Books press release

Choice Books purchased or sold 5,125,621 books in 2013, marking the eighth consecutive year that annual sales exceeded 5 million books. Choice Books’ annual sales have hovered between 5.1 and 5.4 million books purchased/sold annually, after peaking at over 5.5 million books sold in 2008.

The flucuation in sales may be attributed to the recession and the increase in e-book sales in the last several years. An October 2013 report from the Book Industry Study Group notes a slow decline in the number of people who exclusively buy e-books and that physical books remain a popular format for many consumers.

Choice Books is a direct-store-delivery distributor of inspirational, wholesome and family-oriented reading materials servicing displays in thousands of retail locations across the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Mennonite Brethren congregations in California support Choice Books of West Coast (CBWC), one of Choice Book’s seven regional distributors. CBWC has an office and warehouse in Reedley, Calif.

Choice Books continues to set and service additional displays every year, providing new opportunities to reach more people with the "good news" of Jesus Christ. Choice Books services more than 11,350 displays nationwide in supermarkets, mass merchandise stores, airports, drug stores, travel centers, hospital gift shops, military base exchanges and a variety of other retailers. At the current rate, Choice Books purchases/sells over 14,000 books per day.

“God has given Choice Books a unique opportunity to share his love through books in many different places around the country, including some very small stores and also some very large chain stores,” says John M. Bomgerger, Choice Books CEO. “Its not unusual to receive an email or letter from a customer who is both surprised and thankful to see a Choice Books display while traveling or shopping.”

Topping Choice Books bestseller list in 2013 was People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys by Mike Bechtle with 76,843 copies purchased/sold. Other top selling titles included Faith Word Search Puzzles by Gertrude Knabbe (66,486 copies) and Comfort for Troubled Christians by J. C. Brumfield (59,988 copies).

Each year, Choice Books recognizes the highest retail volume accounts in various retail categories. Choice Books’ highest volume account in 2013 was Paradies Shops at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which sold 21,597 books, $253,231 retail from nine displays scattered throughout the airport. The Pilot Flying J #617 in Lodi, Calif., had the top volume in the travel center store category.

Originally organized in 1962, Choice Books (CB) currently operates through a network of seven regional distributors who work cooperatively with a central office in Harrisonburg, Va. The organization employs approximately 250 staff and volunteers and services more than 11,350 displays. Choice Books purchases books from over 80 publishers and sells both English and Spanish language inspirational Christian books.

Choice Books of West Coast was developed when Choice Books of Pennsylvania (CBPA) asked Albert and Joann Epp, a retired pastoral couple living in Bakersfield, Calif., to develop Choice Books in California. CBWC was formed as a nonprofit organization May 1, 2002, to assume the work started by CBPA. At that time there were 55 displays. Today CBWC services over 450 displays in central and northern California and northern Nevada.

In 2012, CBWC recorded a milestone by purchasing/selling over $1,000,000 in book sales. Currently there are six service representatives and two administrative office staff plus a host of faithful volunteers involved in the CBWC ministry. Mennonite Brethren involved are district manager Steve Isaak of Dinuba (Calif.) MB Church; service representatives Neal Longenecker and Michael Lawrence, both of Reedley (Calif.) MB Church, and Jaime Gonzalez of United Faith Christian Fellowship, a USMB congregation in Fresno, Calif.; and chief volunteer Melvin Pauls, also of Reedley MB Church.

The CBWC Board of Directors includes individuals from the USMB Pacific District Conference and Pacific Southwest District of the Mennonite Church USA. MB board members are chair Eugene Enns, treasurer David Karber and members Albert Epp, Marvin Just, Jim Gaede and Nancy Neufeld.

For more information about Choice Books, visit www.choicebooks.org.

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