Time For A Trip

If You Need Me, I’ll Be In The Costco Book Section

Slide over the jug of maple syrup and rearrange the discount wine and dried mango — you’re going to need more room in your cart.

Written by Meredith Begley

It's not so much the 64-pack of Kirkland chocolate chip granola bars that gets me amped up to visit Costco — though they are delicious; thank me later — or the 10 pounds of Quaker Oats I’ve been known to lug back to my apartment. Really, my favorite stop in the warehouse is the blink-and-you-miss-it table of books. It’s where I’ve been known to do significant damage (and every time I don’t buy something off Amazon, an angel gets its wings).

Let me preface this by saying I still happily frequent my local bookstore. I love to spend time perusing the shelves, taking note of everything that I “heard was good” but probably won’t get around to reading. You can still find me, blissfully, at the local library as well. Is there a more thrilling subject line to hit your inbox than “Your Public Library Request Is Available”?

But then there are the days when I’m already on Mission: Costco, stocking up on Aussie Bites (~try them~) and a block of cheddar as big as my head. It’s on those days, after all the essentials are in my cart (or maybe before), that I’m making a beeline for the books table.

What is it about the books table at Costco that gets my heart racing? Well, for one, just the fact that it’s even there. Costco recognizes that in the midst of wholesale shopping, you might need a break. Picture me in the boxing ring, my hair in French braid pigtails, sweating profusely as some tattooed man with a buzz cut squirts water into my mouth. It’s the recharge I need before getting back out there again.

Second, the book selection at Costco is great. Any bestseller you could want is there, and often a few bucks cheaper than it is elsewhere. Is the library out of the latest Reese’s Book Club pick? There are probably five copies waiting for you at Costco. Is your old Pioneer Woman cookbook fraying like Ree Drummond’s fringe? Pick up her newest on your way to the meat section, and watch the casserole ideas swirl in your head! The selection is well-curated, though, so you’re not flooded by books you don’t want. It is, in fact, the only section of Costco where less is more.

Just as importantly, Costco has all the kids’ favorites. For my Gen Alpha daughter, a box set of six Bluey books will run me just $31. A set of 18 Baby-Sitter’s Club books that I will pretend is for her but is really for me is just $32. That’s not even $2 a book! It’s every parent’s dream family reunion: a world where Pete the Cat and Harry Potter stand side by side, begging to tell you their stories. And don’t get me started on the workbooks, reading games, phonetics tools, and flashcards: a bevy of activity books awash in so many colors your vision might short-circuit — in which case, head straight to Costco’s optical department.

Finally, leaving Costco with two or three books will not break your back like every other item you’re taking home will. You don’t even need to grab an empty produce box at the checkout. You’ll feel practically weightless and temporarily forget there’s a new 65-inch TV hanging out in your trunk.

Yes, there are, of course, other important places for me to get books. But this is also true: The Costco book selection is a literary lighthouse calling me home. I’ll meet you there as soon as I finish this Chicken Bake.