ThriftBooks, which calls itself the world’s largest seller of used books, is turning a new page on its Dallas operations with the massive expansion of its 60,000-square-foot warehouse here.
Thriftbooks currently has eight warehouses across the U.S. But, after the Dallas location is transformed into a 178,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art fulfillment center, Thriftbooks says it will be the company’s biggest in the country.
By tripling the warehouse’s size, the company will be able to triple the number of books it processes every day, which is currently more than 110,000.
“ThriftBooks is really excited to be growing our facility in Dallas,” ThriftBooks CEO Mike Ward told Dallas Innovates via email. “We have had many years of success operating there already and as we looked at expansion options, Dallas makes a lot of sense for us based on its location between the East and West coasts as well as the stability and talent of our employees in the city.”
The facility currently employs roughly 75 people, but ThriftBooks said it hopes to employ more than 175 workers after the expansion. This will allow the Dallas warehouse to shelve more than 2 million books.
“ThriftBooks will be investing millions of dollars in equipment and other automation as we scale up this state-of-the art book processing and fulfillment center using technologies we developed specific to handling of very large volumes of used books,” Ward said. “Once at scale, we will be able to process 50 million books a year in this facility, which is the largest we have in our network of fulfillment centers.”
ThriftBooks was founded in 2003 by two entrepreneurs, Daryl Butcher and Jason Meyer, who the company credits with writing the first version of the software to list and price books on Amazon.com.
ThriftBooks grew from a storage unit in 2004 to a warehouse in downtown Seattle the next year. In 2006, ThriftBooks moved into a larger warehouse in Auburn, Washington that was able to hold a million books.
And, since 2007, the company has added and maintained facilities in Dallas, Portland, Atlanta, Phoenix, St. Louis, Baltimore, and Reno. In 2016, ThriftBooks opened its largest facility to-date in Chicago (but, that will change after the Dallas expansion).
Online sales of used books is a growing market
Dallas-headquartered Half Price Books, long known for its brick-and-mortar stores, also sells books online and is a partner of ThriftBooks.
“Half Priced Books is a partner of ours, in that we purchase large volumes of raw, unprocessed books from them,” Ward said. “HPB operates a small online business, but is primarily focused on its brick-and-mortar stores, while we are an entirely online business, which makes us an ideal partner to work with in order to get their excess inventory onto the internet generally and onto www.thriftbooks.com—our proprietary website.”
But, the majority of Half Price Books’ sales still come from its physical stores—84 percent in the past fiscal year, according to PR Manager Emily Bruce. She also said 14 percent has come from online sales, leaving 2 percent to come from clearance and outlet sales.
Half Price Books continues to expand its physical store presence, too, with plans to open two new stores in the fall in Mishawaka, Indiana and Concord, California.
In Dallas, the company has broken ground last month on a mixed-use development that will bring new retail, restaurant, and office space adjacent to its flagship location on Northwest Highway.
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