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Article printed in Bernards-Ridge Connection, September, 2005

by Jill Schneiderman

BERNARDS-RIDGE CONNECTION STAFF

School is out for the children, but for the PTA summer is the time to plan for next year's big school fund raisers and activities. For most schools, that means the annual Fall School Book Fair. This year make your book fair more successful and more meaningful with books from Allbook, Inc.

Owned and operated by Meryl Raiffe and partners JIll and Joe Bailey, Allbook, Inc. has grown to service almost 100 schools in the metropolitan area. When Meryl's six children were younger and in elementary school, she found herself chairing the annual book fair at their school. The following year she was asked to chair the book fair at another school, the next year it became five schools, then ten. As you can see, word of mouth created a career opportunity for Meryl that she wasn't necessarily looking for but was more than happy to accept. She soon discoverd two things: book fair companies offered poor quality items with a decent profit margin and book stores offered high quality items with a poor profit margin. Meryl wanted to combine both high quality and sizeable profit margins for the schools so she contacted several publishers about selling their books on consignment and amazingly three publishers agreed. The following year two additional publishers signed on. Meryl's new career was underway. She would fill a niche in the book trade where high quality, vast selection and dependability were her mainstays.

What began as a small undertaking in Meryl's basement in 1997 has now become a major business. With roughly 2200 titles filling her stockroom shelves each year, space became a real concern, especially during fair times when the logistics of accepting books from the publishers and shipping them out to the different schools required a small army. Consequently, three years ago Allbook, Inc.moved to its present location which allows plenty of legroom for the books, the book fair supplies, and the shipping and receiving of the inventory. This year Allbook, Inc. will handle about 100 book fairs with plenty of room to grow. In fact, one new idea on the horizon is a school supply fair where students and parents would purchase their school supplies through Allbook, Inc. and a percentage of the profits would be given back to the schools. Ultimately Meryl hopes to expand her market to the point of offering franchises. The success so far has been through word of mouth; however, Allbook, Inc. recently hired a salesperson to solicit additional clients in the tri-state area.

Why should your organization choose Albook, Inc. for their next fundraiser? Because they offer your school or organization books and educational materials of the finest quality. They provide a vast selection of titles on a variety of different topics. They offer more new titles and an expansive line of authored books. They tailor their book fairs to their clients because they are familiar with the area. They give free books to the schools. They work with you to select age appropriate titles for your organization. In addition, Allbook, Inc. is developing an on-going program whereby parents and students could buy books over the course of the year from the Allbook, Inc. website and 15% of the sale would be donated back to the school. It's a win-win situation.

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