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The vision for Choice Books began in the late 1950’s and the early 1960’s when Mark Martin, Harrisonburg, VA; Eugene Garber, Kalona, IA; Norman Martin, Chambersburg, PA; and Orrin Eichelberger, Canton, OH, began selling inspirational books to a variety of local retail stores. Initially unaware of one another, the men organized an association in 1962 that later became known as Life-Line Books.
In 1965, Life-Line Books asked a northern Indiana service agency to provide centralized book buying services for the organization. Several years later, the agency and Life-Line Books agreed that the agency’s multi-media subsidiary in Virginia should assume responsibility for the management of the organization’s central office and central services. Throughout the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Life-Line Books grew to nearly 600 displays selling over 300,000 books annually. Displays were located primarily in eastern and central United States.
In 1973, the organization changed its name to Choice Books and registered its name “Choice Books” with the US Trademark Office. During the 1970’s, the organization added additional distributor organizations and expanded its distribution services into new geographic markets. By the end of the decade, the organization had grown to 27 distributor organizations servicing approximately 2,000 displays selling nearly 700,000 books annually. Displays were scattered throughout eastern and central United States and eastern, central and western Canada.
Book sales continued to grow throughout the 1980’s with sales topping 800,000 books annually by the end of the decade. While sales grew and distribution continued to expand into new geographic areas, distributor organizations began merging together to better serve the ever-changing retail marketplace.
In 1991, Choice Books set a sales record by selling one million books in a one-year period of time. Six years later, in 1997, the organization, now operating with eight (8) regional distributors, set a new record and surpassed the previous milestone by selling two million books in one year.
On January 1, 1998, seven (7) regional distributor organizations - Choice Books of Great Lakes-Rosedale; Choice Books of Gulf States; Choice Books of Kansas; Choice Books of Midwest; Choice Books of Northern Virginia; Choice Books of Ohio and Choice Books of Pennsylvania - formed Choice Books Limited Liability Company which now owns the “Choice Books” trademark and has its Central Office in Harrisonburg, VA. In 2005, CB of West Coast became the eighth regional distributor organization to join the Choice Books LLC and then in 2009, Choice Books of Great Lakes-Rosedale and Choice Books of Ohio merged to become Choice Books of Great Lakes.
Today, Choice Books sells over 5.1 million books annually. The organization purchases books from over 80 publishers and sells them from more than 11,350 displays in retail locations (i.e. supermarkets, mass merchandisers, airports, drug stores, travel centers, gift shops, etc.) scattered across the continental United States, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. With state-of-the-art technology and a staff of more than 250 people, the organization now services some of the largest retailers in North America.