10 COMMANDMENTS

Warren Buffett approves every title this independent book store sells at the Berkshire Hathaway meeting

As 40,000 people amass in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, one family has a lot of work to do.

Beth and Phillip Black own the independent bookstore The Bookworm Omaha, and the annual pilgrimage to Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders meeting is a massive weekend for the couple.

The exclusive book provider for the meeting, The Bookworm sells Warren Buffett’s annual book selection of books about him, Charlie Munger, and investment.

This year’s list of 43 books includes:

  • The Ten Commandments for Business Failure by Donald R. Keough
  • Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street by John Brooks
  • The Oracle’s Fables: Life Lessons for Children Inspired by the Oracle of Omaha by John Prescott, with illustrations by Tom Kerr

Around 25 people run The Bookworm’s booth at the meeting. Beth Black estimates the store does a month’s worth of business in a day.

For new titles, Black orders anywhere between 500 and 800 copies to sell onsite.

Buffett approves every title that the store sells at the meeting, says Black. In January Phillip Black brings him a list of proposed books, along with a sales report of how the previous year’s books sold.

“If a book that we’ve carried for a couple years hasn’t been selling, he crosses it off,” she says with a laugh. “He’s a very good business man.”

Lawrence Cunningham, who’s behind The Essays of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Beyond Buffett, both of which appear routinely on the annual selections list, says the weekend is huge for Buffett book sales, rivaling Christmas, traditionally the biggest time of year for authors.

“Christmas is better,” he says, “but it comes close.”

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