Book industry veteran Carl Lennertz has been seeing vinyl everywhere: at indie bookstores like McLean & Eakin in Petoskey, Michigan; in his own home, where his daughter flips between indie rock and Stevie Wonder records; and in the New York Times, which reported in a September 15 article that vinyl is “having an unexpected renaissance.”
“Last year more than 13 million LPs were sold in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, the highest count in 25 years, making it one of the record business’s few growth areas,” wrote the Times, which also noted that 54 percent of vinyl customers are age 35 or younger, according to consumer research group MusicWatch.
In response to this surge in demand for vinyl, Lennertz has founded the Turntable Project. Through the program, booksellers can stock their stores with new vinyl and turntables and will also have the opportunity to nominate a school in need to receive a record player of its own.
Deer Park, a family-owned company and the sole distributor of Crosley products in the United States, will serve as the source for record players for booksellers participating in the Turntable Project. The average markup on turntables is 53 percent and the turntables are returnable, said Lennertz.
Vinyl orders will be placed through a dedicated account manager at Alliance Entertainment. Booksellers can get free freight on their first order with Alliance when they mention the Turntable Project, but it’s important to note that all vinyl is nonreturnable. The Turntable Project will coordinate assortments of bestselling records for easy purchasing.
“These two companies are both really eager to work with independent bookstores. They love the Turntable Project and they love the charity aspect,” said Lennertz.
Through a brief application process, bookstores participating in the Turntable Project at any volume will be able to nominate a local underserved school to receive a turntable. Deer Park has agreed to donate Crosley record players to selected schools.
The Turntable Project is a collaboration between Lennertz; Ron Rice, who edited My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read and Shop (Black Dog & Leventhal) in 2012; and Laura Peraza, who was the webmaster for World Book Night in the U.S. A small commission from turntable sales will go to the Turntable Project to pay for promotion of the program, including the cost of marketing and website maintenance.
Booksellers will be hearing from Lennertz soon with additional details about ordering. Questions about the project can be addressed to Lennertz.