06/19/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

New York Schools Streamline Book Purchasing, Cut Out Independent Booksellers

Scores of salespeople traversed the city, going from school to school, peddling so-called trade books: the novels, works of nonfiction, test guides and other publications that teachers use to supplement textbooks.

But the city has transformed the way it buys these books, abandoning the decades-old process in which numerous vendors competed in door-to-door or bazaar-like settings, to one in which nearly all such books -- literally millions of volumes -- are purchased via computer from two large discount wholesalers that have promised savings of at least 30 percent.

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