Books-A-Million is a major privately-owned book retailer headquartered at 402 Industrial Lane in Birmingham's Oxmoor Industrial Park. Terrance Finley is the company's chief executive officer.
The company was founded in Florence, Lauderdale County by 14-year-old Clyde Anderson in 1917. After Anderson's father died, he began delivering newspapers to support his family. He heard the complaints of construction workers from other states who were working on Wilson Dam that they missed their hometown newspapers and worked out an arrangement with publishers and railroads to bring them to Florence where he sold them from a shed pieced together from old piano crates. He added books and fireworks to his inventory and, within a few years, opened a downtown bookstore with his brother.
In the 1950s, under the guidance of Anderson's son Charles, the company expanded its book store business, opening Bookland stores across the South, primarily in enclosed shopping malls. The firm was incorporated under that name in 1964.
Bookland acquired Gateway Books of Knoxville, Tennessee in 1988, but ended up closing 33 underperforming locations. With the excess inventory, he opened his first "Books-A-Million" superstores, with room to display discounted overstock. The success of that model led Anderson to pursue the concept of positioning a bookstore as a destination retailer. In 1992, he changed the name of the company to Books-A-Million and took it public. Its initial offering on the NASDAQ exchanged valued the company at $33.8 million. The infusion of capital allowed the company to expand, and by 1993 it was operating 84 Bookland stores and 29 Books-A-Million "superstores". The company emphasized its regional presence by promoting Southern authors and subjects of particular interest, such as college sports.
Books-A-Million's shares peaked at $47 per share during a 1998 Thanksgiving weekend frenzy, fueled by internet chat rooms, which followed the announcement of a redesigned website. The high valuation triggered a sell-off, led by officers of the company and members of the Anderson family, dropping the price to $10 per share within two weeks. In 1999 Books-A-Million acquired the internet development and services company which had built its website, NetCentral of Nashville, Tennessee.
In 2011 Books-A-Million had over 200 stores in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and employed around 5,500 people. It became the second-largest book retailer in the United States after Borders Group announced that it was liquidating all of its assets and going out of business. Books-A-Million purchased 14 former Borders' locations in August 2011.
In 2014, Books-A-Million was singled out by 24/7 Wall Street as America's worst company to work for, citing low satisfaction among employees due to, "high stress and low pay...low chance of promotion, [and] hours are based on magazine and discount card sales." In late 2015 the Anderson family resumed controlling interest in Books-A-Million, returning it to private ownership.
In addition to its Bookland and Books-A-Million stores, the company has also operated news stands under the Joe Muggs name. The Books & Company badge, formerly used on its Brookwood Village store to signal a more sophisticated and comprehensive flagship store, was later retired.
In 2010 the company launched a "2nd & Charles" division which buys and sells used books, toys, games and music alongside new merchandise. That division expanded to 44 stores in 18 states by 2022.
Books-A-Million also operates two book wholesale and distribution subsidiaries, American Wholesale Book Company and Book$mart, Inc., both located in Florence; an e-commerce division operating as booksamillion.com.
The company also has a commercial real estate development and management division, operating as Preferred Growth Properties. It also owns a 40% share of the Yogurt Mountain chain of frozen yogurt shops.
The company is headed by CEO Terrance Finley. Clyde B. Anderson, grandson of the founder, is executive chairman of the board. Douglas Markham became chief financial officer after Richard Wallington's retirement on July 5, 2006. Todd Noden was named president of the company in December 2019.
- Clyde B. Anderson, –2004
- Sandra Cochran, 2004–2009
- Clyde B. Anderson, 2009–2012
- Terrance Finley, 2012–
- Books-A-Million store #108: Propst Promenade, Alabaster (2005–present)
- Books-A-Million store #394: 3429 Lowery Parkway, Promenade Fultondale, Fultondale (November 3, 2007–)
- Books-A-Million store #216: 1624 Gadsden Highway, Colonial Promenade Tutwiler Farm, Trussville (2000–)
- Books-A-Million store #299: 719 2nd Avenue Northwest, Cullman
- 2nd & Charles: Riverchase Promenade, 1705 Montgomery Highway, Hoover (2011–)
- 2nd & Charles: 2306 McFarland Boulevard, Tuscaloosa (March 17, 2022–)
- Eastwood Mall, Birmingham (1989–February 25, 2006)
- Books-A-Million store #180: Brookwood Village, Homewood (2006– May 2020, formerly Books & Company)
- Books-A-Million store #202: Hoover Commons, Hoover
- Books-A-Million store #220: Wildwood North, Homewood (c. 2001–September 2011)
- Books-A-Million store #181: 5287 U.S. Highway 280, Brook Highland Plaza, Birmingham (c. 1995-January 2022)
- Brookwood Village, Homewood (c. 1980s)
- Century Plaza, Birmingham (1970s–1990s)
- Store #200, Riverchase Galleria, Hoover (1986–January 13, 2007)
- Books & Company
- Brookwood Village, Homewood (2002–2006, rebranded as Books-A-Million)
- Joe Muggs
- Joe Muggs store #197: 2037 Cahaba Road, English Village, Mountain Brook (1990s)
- Five Points South, Birmingham (–May 1, 2005)
- Joe Muggs store #219: 238 Summit Boulevard, The Summit, Birmingham (August 4, 2001–2007)
- Mollenkamp, Carrick & Karen Lundegaard (December 9, 1998) "How Net Fever Sent Shares of a Firm on a 3-Day Joy Ride." The Wall Street Journal, reprinted in Michael Lewis ed. (2009) Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity., W. W. Norton. ISBN 9780393065145 pp. 169–175
- Milazzo, Don (June 9, 2000) "Old Navy sailing to Wildwood North location." Birmingham Business Journal
- "Joe Muggs opens fourth, fifth newsstands" (August 7, 2001) Birmingham Business Journal
- "Books-A-Million joins shops in Alabaster" (January 5, 2005) The Birmingham News
- "5 Points' Joe Muggs to close" (March 29, 2005) The Birmingham News
- "Bookstore leaving Eastwood" (February 22, 2006) The Birmingham News
- Wilkinson, Kaija (June 23, 2006) "Books-A-Million takes steps to grow top line." Birmingham Business Journal
- "Bookland store at the Galleria closes" (c. January 2007) The Hoover Gazette.
- Goodman, Sherri C. (February 15, 2007) "Books-A-Million has room to grow." The Birmingham News
- Goodman, Sherri C. (April 1, 2007) "Birmingham business bound for success." The Birmingham News
- Cooper, Lauren B. (March 13, 2009) "Books-A-Million CEO Sandra Cochran resigns." Birmingham Business Journal
- Lewis, Jim (July 11, 2011) "Books-A-Million" Encyclopedia of Alabama - accessed December 7, 2021
- Poe, Ryan (October 27, 2011) "Books-A-Million expands its BAM! brand." Birmingham Business Journal
- Poe, Ryan (March 13, 2012) "Books-A-Million names new CEO". Birmingham Business Journal
- Frost, Jason (June 24, 2014) "Books-A-Million lands on list of America's Worst Companies to Work For." Birmingham Business Journal
- Beckerman, Josh (July 13, 2015) "Books-A-Million in $21 Million Buyout Deal With Chairman." The Wall Street Journal
- West, Ty (December 10, 2015) "Books-A-Million completes $21M deal to go private." Birmingham Business Journal
- Poe, Kelly (November 4, 2016) "Books-A-Million to begin selling self-published books." The Birmingham News
- "Books-A-Million names new president." (December 27, 2019) Birmingham Business Journal
- Thornton, William (May 28, 2020) "Books-A-Million closes Brookwood Village location." The Birmingham News
- "Books-A-Million" (November 12, 2021) Wikipedia - accessed December 7, 2021
- Books-A-Million, Inc. company website
- BAMM.com online shopping