Last month we headed out of the office and all the way to Eastbourne, for a visit to the UK’s largest book wholesaler, Gardners Books. Gardners stores vast numbers of books, music and film, and holds at least one copy of most of our titles in their huge warehouse, ready to be sent to various customers all over the world. We set off from Bristol nice and early, stopping for lunch on the way, and arrived in plenty of time for our meeting with Mark Smith, our contact at Gardners who looks after our account. We began by sitting down with Mark to discuss our account and be updated on what has been happening since Channel View last visited. We also discussed how Brexit has already started to affect Gardners and what it might mean for the future (although this is very difficult to predict!)
After our catch up, Mark kindly took us on a grand tour of the warehouse – filled with an unimaginable number of books! The first room had three storeys, and bookshelves that amounted overall to 6 miles! We made our way through the aisles and saw people picking book orders, which they then put onto a conveyor belt, ready to be taken to the packing room. Other rooms showed us even more books – consisting of more levels of shelves, this time kept in boxes that are collected by a huge machine and brought to the picker. It’s hard to capture through words and photos just how impressive the operation is; it really is something that has to be seen in person to take in!
It was amazing to hear some of the figures regarding how many books they hold and how many they send out on a daily basis. Gardners is the third biggest wholesaler in the world and 120,000 books leave the warehouse each day. We had hoped to spot one of our own books on the shelves, but due to the sheer size of the warehouse and volume of books stored, it would have been like finding a needle in a haystack! Mark told us that Gardners is currently in the process of a 25% warehouse expansion over the next five years, so we look forward to seeing the progress on our next visit!