SodaStream Home Drinksmaker from

July 17th, 2014 by Kimberly · 4 Comments

I finally made my first official purchase from Costco UK’s online shopping site.  I usually just find everything we want or need at the actual store, but this time, I knew I could only get it online.  It’s taken me far too long to get a bit of shopping done and I’m actually a bit ashamed at the delay.  Of course, for part of that time we were in Australia or tiny temporary housing, so that’s my excuse.

SodaStream Genesis Megapack at

SodaStream Genesis Megapack at

So, what was it that finally got me shopping with  A SodaStream, of all things.  I got an email from Costco UK and it was one of the products they featured and it made me give it some consideration.  I will admit that for the last couple of years I thought this was just kind of a silly kitchen gadget, but after seeing it in the email, it got me thinking about how much we were spending on sparkling and/or flavoured waters from the supermarket or Costco.  I quickly realized that this was probably the perfect way to save some money and shopping time and all of the plastic bottles in our recycling.  For those of you that aren’t up on the SodaStream, it is a home drinks maker that helps you turn normal tap water into sparkling water and soda right in your own kitchen, anytime you want.  It’s basically just a way to dispense the right amount of  carbon dioxide into a bottle of tap water that you can then flavour, or not.  It doesn’t need to be plugged in and is super simple to use, plus you can make the flavours you want and make it as sweet and bubbly as you want too.  What more could you want?

They have four different SodaStreams for sale on, so you have a bit of variety to choose from.  They have the super fancy high end one down to the very basic version that we got.  We decided that we would get the SodaStream Genesis Megapack because it came with not only the machine itself but also several of their carbonating bottles, the gas cylinder, as well as a sample kit of twelve of their flavoured syrups.  So, really, you’ve got everything you want to get going in one handy little package for £54.99 (with VAT and delivery included).  Here’s exactly what you get for that:

  • White Genesis drinksmaker,
  • 1 – 60L gas cylinder,
  • 2 – 1L carbonating bottles,
  • 1 – 12 sample flavour pack,
  • 2 – 0.5L carbonating bottles

The drinksmaker itself is kind of tall at 41.7cm or 16.4 in in height, but it fits tidily under our kitchen cabinets.  It isn’t that wide or deep, so it really doesn’t take up much counter space, even in an incredibly small kitchen like ours.  We mostly use the big carbonating bottles, however, the smaller ones are great for picnics or taking to the park.  All of the bottles are nice and thick with the only real requirement being that you do not put them in the dishwasher.  I like their durability because if you do take them with you, you don’t need to worry about them crushing or getting damaged.

Twelve SodaStream Flavour Concentrates to Try

Twelve SodaStream Flavour Concentrates to Try

The weakest aspect of this pack, or maybe just the SodaStream in general, is the concentrated flavour syrups.  We got twelve different flavour packets, each one enough to flavour 1 litre of water: cherry, cream soda, dandelion and burdock, cola, diet cola, energy, lemon lime, orange, blackcurrant, apple, pink grapefruit, and tonic.  Out of the twelve that we tried in our sample pack, we liked two of the flavours: pink grapefruit and cream soda.  The pink grapefruit flavour was definitely the favourite though and we’re actually planning to purchase this in a full size.  It is really refreshing and tastes like Fresca with that nice citrusy taste.  But the other flavours were not winners for us, some of them were barely drinkable (dandelion and burdock, I’m looking at you).  We came to the conclusion that the mix of sweeteners was probably what caused us to dislike the flavourings.  SodaStream uses a mix of sugar and artificial sweeteners – sodium cyclamate, acesulfame potassium, and aspartame – that neither of us finds very palatable apparently.  They just left us both with this weird, unpleasant taste in our mouths.  So, that’s a bit of a bummer.  But it was great to try the twelve flavours.

We also tried the SodaStream Natural Strawberry Flavour Essence (we had to purchase this from Ocado) and it was horrible!  It’s only ingredient is natural strawberry flavour, and while it smells really, really strawberry, it doesn’t taste even remotely of strawberries.  At least not to anyone in our house.  What we have found is that cordials do the flavouring job way better, or even just fresh lemon juice.  We’re big fans of the Belvoir Elderflower cordial, but there are so many cordials available, we should be able to find plenty more to enjoy.  Also, if you drink a lot of just plain water, like I do, then the bit of carbonation is sometimes a great change all on its own, no flavouring needed.  We keep the two, one litre bottles filled with tap water chilling in the fridge, so that we can have a nice cool sparkling beverage whenever we want.  This is particularly nice right now when it is hot hot hot here in London.

Everything you need to start making sparking water at home

Everything you need to start making sparking water at home

We are really pleased with the SodaStream purchase so far, even with the flavourings not being to our tastes.  And I think we’ve already saved the cost of the machine probably in buying plain and flavoured sparkling waters at the regular supermarkets.  Here’s a good example of the savings for making our own sparkling elderflower drink at home.  A 750ml bottle of elderflower sparkling water from Waitrose or Ocado is £1.99.  However, if we buy our own Belvoir Organic Elderflower Cordial from Ocado it is £2.73 for a bottle that will make 5 litres of elderflower sparkling water with the help of our SodaStream.  So, instead of paying £1.99 for something that isn’t even a litre (it would be £2.65 for a full litre) our homemade version is just £0.55 per litre!  That’s a big old savings of £2.10 per litre; not accounting for the cost of the SodaStream.  And if we’re having just plain, no flavour, sparkling water, we’re saving about £0.75 per litre. The cost of a replacement 60 litre gas cylinder from Amazon breaks down to a cost of about £0.25 per litre of sparkling water made, so after we pay off the initial investment of the SodaStream purchase from Costco, we’ll have to take that into account for price comparison purposes.

So, how much are you saving getting the bundle over just buying the individual pieces at someplace like Amazon.  Here’s the cost breakdown from Amazon for the various components in the package deal:

  • White Genesis drinksmaker: £49.31
  • 1 – 60L gas cylinder:  £15.17
  • 2 – 1L carbonating bottles: £9.99
  • 1 – 12 sample flavour pack: £6.65
  • 2 – 0.5L carbonating bottles: £15.60
  • Total for buying separately at Amazon: £96.72

So, buying the individual items would be much more than the £54.99 for the bundle at Costco.  I will point out that Amazon also has the same bundle for the same price as Costco.  But obviously, no matter if you buy your bundle from Costco or Amazon, you are saving £41.73 over buying the products separately.  Obviously, I think you should get your SodaStream Genesis Megapack from Costco though.

I do find it kind of curious that I couldn’t find one SodaStream drinksmaker in the warehouse.  I think this bundle would be perfect to have in the actual stores.  But I’m glad that I finally noticed that it was at and bought it because we’re definitely going to save money and won’t be putting so many glass and plastic bottles into the recycling bin, nor will anyone have to cart the heavy bottles of water back from the supermarket.



Tags: · Food · Household Items Share

Be the Big Cheese with

July 15th, 2014 by Kimberly · 2 Comments

If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you have probably picked up on my love of cheese.  Though, to be honest, I have been trying to tone it down lately, just in case my doctor is reading.  Costco stores have great cheese selections, from the mundane slices of cheddar or the bags of shredded mozzarella, to the more interesting specialty cheeses, and things like stilton and gorgonzola.  I love it all and pretty much only buy my cheese at Costco now, unless I’m in a cheese emergency.  One thing that I always have in my fridge is my wedge of aged Parmesan in my fridge – either the Reggiano or the Stravecchio.  So, with all of that in mind, it is only natural that I would feel compelled to write about this magnificent thing I ran across the other day at the website.

Kirkland Signature Whole Wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano

Kirkland Signature Whole Wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano

There is an enormous round of Parmigiano Reggiano available at now for anyone with a cheese love and a big budget to buy.  Of course, most likely this is for a restaurant or catering company, not just a person…I hope!  Because when I say enormous, I mean it: like 72 pounds of enormous.  That is a big piece of cheese!  The Kirkland Signature branded Parmigiano Reggiano has been imported from Italy where it has been aged for 24 months.  Here’s the full description from the Costco website:

Parmigiano Reggiano Wheel approximately 72 lb.:
Imported from Italy and made with the freshest milk from the famous Parma and Reggio Emilio provinces in Italy, Parmigiano Reggiano is the apex of Italian cheese making and a symbol of Italian culture and civilization. Aged a minimum of 24 months, this product is brushed completely and regularly inspected to comply with the strict standards of the Consortium Parmigiano Reggiano. This extravagant blend of old world cheese making and unrivaled quality fuse to create a delicate and savory rich full flavor that has made Parmigiano Reggiano world renowned and an immediate favorite to those who try it. In addition to being eaten alone, shredded or grated Parmigiano Reggiano transforms any pasta, soup or salad into an exquisite gourmet experience.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:
Montepulciano, Pinot Grigio, Chianti and Merlot.

So, how much will a giant wheel of Kirkland Signature Parmigiano Reggiano set you back?  A mere $899.99 or $12.50 per pound.  But hey, at least that price covers the delivery with UPS 2nd Day Air; unless you live in Alaska or Hawaii where they’ll have to add a bit more for the shipping.  If you want to order the big cheese, it will take about five business days from the time you order to receive your wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, so plan ahead.

If Parmesan isn’t your thing, or you don’t have a $900.00 cheese budget, there are some other nice cheese selections available through  These would be great if you’re having a party or something and need a nice selection but don’t want to take the time to source it all on your own.

Bur really, what do you think the weight limit is for the average fridge shelf?  Hmmmmm……



Tags: · Food Share

This Week at Costco – July 6, 2014

July 12th, 2014 by Kimberly · No Comments

You ever have one of those weeks where you’d like to just go back and start all over again?  It looks like it’s going to be one of those months here.  And it’s all rainy here, which doesn’t help.   But I’m off to Costco today, so maybe that will cheer me up!  If you missed it, my Thursday post was my monthly update on new Costco location news.

Kirkland Signature Marinara Sauce

Kirkland Signature Marinara Sauce

Kirkland Signature Marinara Sauce – I’m just going to say right up front, if you haven’t tried this marinara sauce yet, you really must do so.  It is the best jarred sauce I’ve ever bought, I think.  And honestly, I’ve been to some Italian restaurants, even good ones, that could improve the quality of their sauce by going with the Kirkland Signature version.  I think the reason it tastes to good is that it is made with all real ingredients, with nothing in the sauce that you wouldn’t put in your own if you were making it yourself.  It is made with vine ripened California tomatoes, tomato puree, fresh onions, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh basil, sea salt, and black pepper.  As  result of all of those great ingredients, the sauce has a really lovely fresh taste, despite coming out of jar. And the smell of it heating or cooking, is mouthwateringly good.  It smells like I’ve been making my own sauce.  The texture is just like a good marinara should be too, thick with chunks of tomato and pieces of basil (yes, you can actually see the pieces of basil, it’s not just basil essence).  We have had this on pasta, of course, which was great.  We also tried it on spaghetti with a bit of nduja added to give it a bit of fire and that was amazing; I wish they sold nduja at Costco.  Of course, we have also found that it is perfect for topping pizzas or adding to calzones.  I think we have probably used it most often in our calzones, along with fresh mozzarella, basil and ricotta, it is unbelievably delicious.  No matter how we have tried it though, it has been outstanding. The jars are big, there is no doubt about that, since each of them is 907 grams/2 pounds.  Unless you are making a huge amount of pasta or pizzas, I don’t think you’ll manage to consume it all in one meal.  I know we sure didn’t.  However, it keeps in the fridge for seven days (what they say on the bottle).  I will confess, I know we have a bottle that has been in our fridge right now for a few days more than that though and it is still fine.  Naturally, the price is really great too.  The price is much better than jars of marinara at other supermarkets, which are smaller at 737 grams per bottle, but still cost around £3 – 4.00 per bottle.  And honestly, they not even as high quality as the KS marinara since they are made from tomato puree and have things like soybean oil and carrots or dehydrated onion in them.  I’d much rather pay the slightly less than £2.00 per bottle at Costco for a sauce that is like something you would make at home but you don’t have to put in the time.  3, 907 gram bottles for £5.99 (US: $10.27).  Item #: 0811813.

Me Too! Roasted Red Pepper Houmous

Me Too! Roasted Red Pepper Houmous

Me Too! Roasted Red Pepper Houmous – Dave and I love hummus and we buy it all the time. I really miss the delicious Sabra red pepper hummus that we were able to get in Austin (I think they have it all over the US), so when we saw this we were thrilled and thought it would be a good replacement.  It was not and we were very wrong to be happy to see it in the store.  The texture was good but the taste was bland and not even as good as regular non-flavoured hummus.  There was no red pepper flavour, except maybe a hint of sweet bell pepper flavour.  But just the smallest of hints.  Sad.  We normally have hummus with chips, or veggies like carrot sticks or celery, for snacks but after we tried it initially, this just sat in the back of our fridge doing nothing but taking up space.  We all gave it a wide berth and I think were secretly hoping that the other person would “accidentally” throw it on the floor or in the bin.  I finally got sick of having it waste space and threw it away.  In any case, we won’t be buying this again and I really don’t think I could suggest it to anyone else either.  It’s a very sad version of roasted red pepper hummus.  The good thing is that it is gluten free and vegetarian appropriate, but since it isn’t good that outweighs those factors.  I guess next time, we’ll just stick to the plain hummus since Costco has a couple of good versions of that.  500 grams for £2.19 (US: $3.76).  Item #: 0167196.

Pacific West Salt & Pepper Squid

Pacific West Salt & Pepper Squid

Pacific West Salt and Pepper Squid – I really love squid, whether it is breaded like this is, or just the rings, I love it all.  But only if it is cooked properly, otherwise it turns into a rubber band and I’m pretty sure no one things that is good eating.  Luckily, this salt and pepper squid always seems to come out of the oven perfectly with crunchy breading on the outside and tender squid on the inside.  The breading is nicely peppered to give the right balance of flavour to the little breaded squid rings.  We always cook things like this in the oven, and never go the deep frying route.  They come out of the oven really nice though and don’t take that long, so I can’t imagine messing around with deep frying them (not to mention all that oil mess).  The only problem I’ve had is that sometimes they stick to the pan a bit if I don’t give it a bit of a rub with some olive oil or something.  I guess that’s a good sign because it indicates that these are loaded up with hidden fat in the breading, so they don’t get all greasy while they are baking in the oven.  Mostly we just have these by themselves with a little dipping sauce.  However, we have tried them a few times on top of a salad and that was a really great way to pep up our salad with an extra boost of flavour and get a bit of protein too.  They say that there are 6.25, 160 gram servings in each bag, which seems pretty accurate, I think.  Though we might have gotten 8 servings out of the bag.  Since our freezer space is quite limited we pick our frozen items quite carefully, but we have both agreed that we would get these again.  We think they are freezer-worthy.  1 kilogram for £8.39 (US: $14.39).  Item #: 0139646.

Kirkland Signature Microfibre Towels

Kirkland Signature Microfibre Towels

Kirkland Signature Microfibre Towels – These towels are amazing!  They’re a bit like magic, honestly.  But they clean amazingly well.  I had a pack of the previous version of the microfibre towels that Costco carried (also bright yellow), but I think these might be just a little bit better than even those which I thought were great.  Each towel is 16 inches by 16 inches and has a soft texture, and of course, the very bright yellow colour.  You will definitely not wonder where you’ve left this if you put it down.  These little towels can clean anything to a sparkling finish, like mirrors, windows, cars, computer screens, stove tops, sinks, whatever.  You can clean with just this towel and a bit of water, no nasty, chemically cleaners need to be involved.  Plus, they are great for dusting because they actually pick up the dust, they don’t just push it around.  They are perfect for cleaning wood floors because they are so good at picking up dust and dirt without the need for cleaners or anything that might damage your wood flooring.  For instance, you can easily clean mirrors to a perfect finish with just this towel and a bit of water.  The towel cleans and dries at the same time, so you won’t end up with streaks.  And you won’t end up with a linty residue either, since these towels are totally lint free.  They can do hard cleaning tasks but also delicate ones too, like your computer.  I also find these towels perfect for drying delicate herbs or lettuce leaves because they wick the water up really quickly and don’t crush the leaves.  Of course, if you’re going to do this, I highly suggest you have a couple that you set aside just to use for food handling.  I also think these are great to include in your camping supplies too because they absorb so much and dry so quickly.  They absorb eight times their weight in water, which makes them great for soaking up spills or drying things very quickly.  The only trick to getting the most out of these towels, is in the washing instructions.  You cannot use fabric softener with them.  Ever.  If you do that they lose their magical powers and turn into just another cloth.  Also, you cannot wash them with anything that produces lint because that will also ruin them.  So, it is safest to just wash them by themselves.  And if you treat them well, they are quite durable and should last through more than 300 launderings, according to Costco. Considering how many of these towels come in the pack at Costco, and how big they are, I’m quite certain you will never find microfibre cloths at a better price.  A pack of just 10 towels at Amazon UK costs £7.50, and they aren’t even quite as big; that’s £0.75 per towel.  At Costco, you are paying just £0.28 per towel!  You just can’t beat Costco for the price and quality.  I know they definitely have these at Costco locations in the US and probably in Canada too.  You can find them at for $22.99, but probably for less in your local warehouse.  36 towels for £9.99 (US: $17.13).  Item #: 0713160.


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Tags: Food · Household Items Share

July 2014 Locations Update

July 10th, 2014 by Kimberly · 10 Comments

Yippee!  It’s new location update time!  This is a totally killer long post to write each month, but it is so interesting to read about all of the new locations.  This month there is a lot of good news, including some for people in Iceland. I’ve gotten a lot of requests in the last few weeks to check out specific locations and I am trying to keep up with them all and find information.  Sorry if the place you wanted to know about isn’t in here today, but I’ll keep looking and hoping that everyone gets the Costco they’ve been hoping for.

Locations opening soon:



Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania

Hallelujah!  It looks like the Costco in Hamilton Crossings that has been in the planning stages for a long, long time is finally going to happen, along with a new Whole Foods. The hotly debated TIF (tax increment financing) was finally approved by commissioners in a 3-2 vote, and the plans for the new shopping area, including the Costco and Whole Foods, was approved unanimously following the TIF vote.  Yippee!  I’ve been writing about the back and forth on this new shopping area for what seems like forever, so I am glad to finally see some resolution in this process.  The developers have said that construction on the new shopping center is likely to begin by the end of the year and will be completed by Summer 2016.  The new Hamilton Crossings development, which is budgeted at $139 million, will be built on 63 acres along Krocks Road between Hamilton Boulevard and Route 222.  The anchor stores will be Costco, Whole Foods, and Target.

Work on the new Camillus, NY Costco is underway

Work on the new Camillus, NY Costco is underway

Camillus, New York

Work is progressing on the new Township 5 development that will include a new 150,000 square foot Costco store.  Construction on the foundations for the new Costco have been built and the rest of the work is on schedule.  It looks like this new Costco location will be on target for an opening this fall.  Township 5 is between Route 5, Bennett Road and Hinsdale Road.

Lafayette, Louisiana

It looks like Costco will definitely be coming to Lafayette opening in Fall 2015 most likely.  The new Costco will be part of the Ambassador Town Center shopping area that will begin development in November 2014 with work taking a little less than a year to complete.  In early July the Lafayette Industrial Development Board (IDB) approved a proposal that will grant tax breaks to the developers of the new shopping area.  The development will be built on Ambassador Caffery Parkway between Kaliste Saloom Road and Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, and will abut the Ambassador 10 movie theater on Kaliste Saloom Road.  The new Costco will be part of a large development that will include other retail, restaurants, hotels, and housing.  The developers will build up to $11.5 million in infrastrucure, such as roads and drainage, which will be dedicated back to the city of Lafayette.  In exchange, the IDB voted unanimously to grant the developers a payment in lieu of taxes exemption. The IDB will take technical ownership so that the developers will not have to pay property taxes for up to 11 years and three months in exchange for building the infrastructure.

Lynwood, Washington

Construction on the new Costco location in Lynwood, near Seattle, started last week.  The new 150,000-square-foot Costco, with a gas station, will be located at 3001 184th Street SW on the former site of Lynnwood High School , located north of Alderwood Mall.  Costco will be the anchor store in the new Lynwood Place, a mixed use retail development.

New Berlin and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

It looks like the Milwaukee area will be getting another new Costco store.  The new 156,000 Costco store will be located at 15300 W. Grange Avenue, on what is currently a vacant lot at the northeast corner of Grange Ave. and Moorland Road, south of I-43.  Costco is hoping to start construction later this year with a target of opening by August 2015.  Plans are to be reviewed this week by the Architectural Review Committee.\

Costco is also considering building a new location in Pleasant Prairie, in Kenosha county.  This potential new location is still in the first baby steps of development, so it may not actually come to anything.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

The new Costco in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s first location, got approval from the Planning Commission for rezoning of their proposed site at 103rd and Memorial.  They are trying to get the new location open by late Fall 2015; I’m pretty sure that means November, right before Thanksgiving.

Orillia, Ontario, Canada

There are plans to bring a new 155,500 square foot Costco store to Orillia, off University Avenue.  The developers are looking to get a zoning bylaw amendment to allow for the new construction on 18 acres of their 100 acre plot near Lakehead University.  The developers, Charter Construction and Mark Rich Home, have already complete a traffic impact study and a retail impact study as part of the application for rezoning the land.  The retail impact study concluded there is sufficient market growth in the Orillia area to provide opportunities for both existing and future space in the market including the downtown.  The traffic impact study review is ongoing.  Since this is so, so early in the planning stages, there’s no word yet on an opening timeframe for the new Costco location.

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Not surprisingly no one wants to wait five years to start building the proposed new Costco store in Waterloo.  Well, except for the Waterloo city councillors.  The Waterloo city council approved the Erb Street West Costco proposal in April but they had a few things they are requiring to be done first, like traffic studies and roadwork that must be complete before construction starts with some suggesting that it could take five years to get everything done.  Those conditions and the provision that no construction could commence until all of the roadwork is completed are the basis for the developers appealing the decision.   Since a traffic analysis was completed as part of the development application I’m confused as to why the city council feels that there needs to be additional traffic studies done.  In any case, there’s some roadwork that is supposed to be done on various schedules by the city and region, but it won’t all be completed until 2018, as currently scheduled.  The developer for the Costco project is trying to get a commitment that it will be carried out sooner.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

It looks like Saskatoon will be getting a second Costco location.  Costco is in talks with the developer of Meadows Market, a retail zone in Rosewood, to build a new location there.  The city council approved the plans for the 90-acre Meadows Market development, which could house 40 to 50 businesses. The Meadows is a development in Rosewood that will eventually have 2,800 single-family homes, bungalows and townhouses.  It doesn’t seem like this is completely a done deal yet,  but I’ll keep an eye on this for more definite information.

Reykjavík and Garðabær, Iceland

Believe it or not, Costco is looking at putting two new stores in Iceland, both near Reykjavík.  Honestly, if this were April I would have thought this piece of news was an April Fool’s joke.  Costco is looking at two different sites: Kauptún in Garðabær and Korputorg, in northeast Reykjavík.  While the city of Reykjavík is waiting for more details from Costco on their plans with regards to fueling stations, the City Council Planning Committee has approved the Korputorg location.  The new stores would have “fueling stations”, which would provide drivers with gas, electricity and methane for different vehicles.  How cool is that?  Before Costco in Iceland is a reality though, they will need to get governmental approval since so many products that Costco would offer carry import restrictions in Iceland.  And of course, there is an MP, Progressive parliamentary party chairperson Sigrún Magnúsdóttir, voicing dissent; it’s not a new Costco location without someone complaining.  She seems to think that shoppers in Iceland shouldn’t be allowed to decide for themselves where and on what types of products they spend their money on, unfortunately.  Her main gripe seems to be around imported meats with the thinking that they will somehow harm the health of Icelandic shoppers.  Remarkably, Finnur Árnason, the director of Hagar, a retail company that owns, amongst other companies, the Icelandic grocery chain Bónus, doesn’t agree with her and thinks that shoppers should have choices and options.  We went to Iceland a few years ago for a camping and hiking trip and absolutely loved it!  We’ve been thinking about going back this summer but maybe I’ll delay until next year when hopefully Costco will be open for business.  


Upcoming Holiday Closures and Hours

  • Amazingly, it seems like the rest of July is holiday-free.


Tags: In the News · Locations Share

Costco Controversy Around Book Selection

July 9th, 2014 by Kimberly · 50 Comments

I don’t know if everyone has seen the news about Costco and the book America: Imagine a World Without Her by Dinesh D’Souza, but I’ve read a lot about this, gotten some comments on here and Facebook, and some emails too.  I had actually wanted to stay out of this completely because it seems to be a situation that is based on political ideology, and this isn’t that kind of blog.  But I feel like I need to address it, if only to acknowledge to my readers that it’s a news worthy story.

So, if you’re not aware America: Imagine a World Without Her by Dinesh D’Souza was released in early June 2014 and Costco started selling it at that point.  Sales were not great, according to information from Costco, and when they reviewed their book selection at the end of June it was determined that the book wasn’t selling well enough at their stores to meet their criteria.  At that point Costco had only sold 3,600 copies of the book; that averages out to less than 10 per warehouse in the US.  Also, at the end of the month, on June 27, the documentary based on the book was released at more than 1,000 theatres in the US.  It seems that the movie prompted interest in the book and sales increased, both at Costco and other retailers.

In the week following the release of the film Costco sold around 700 copies of the book.  The book is currently ranked number 1 at Amazon for books and number 7 for Kindle sales, but was only at number 51 earlier in the week.  This week, America will hit number 17 on the NY Times Best Sellers list.  The book does not show up on the Top 10 Best Sellers at Barnes and Noble for this week, but is currently number four on the list of top 100 books this hour.   But the bump in sales at Costco, as well as at Amazon obviously, happened after the movie was released, and from what I can tell, after Costco had decided to quit selling the book.  Some stores had started pulling the book immediately on July 1, others still had some on their book table earlier this week and were waiting until they do their regular book changes on Tuesday or Wednesday.  After the increase in sales, and the big bruhaha over them discontinuing sales of the book, Costco has actually backtracked and decided to keep the book in their stores as a result of renewed interest and perhaps also because it is finally moving onto the NYT Best Sellers list.

On the face of it, it seems that Costco had decided to stop selling the book because it wasn’t selling that well and they have a very limited selection of books, so they get rid of the things that aren’t moving well, as you would expect since that is what they do with the items in the rest of the store.  But there are many that see this as some evil, politically motivated conspiracy.  Here’s what Costco has said in response to all this:

Costco is not a book store. Our book shelf space is very limited. We exercise discipline in the best utilization of that limited space based solely on what our members are buying. We can’t carry every title that our members are interested in reading. We are constantly monitoring book sales, and make decisions to pull books off the shelves frequently based on sales volume to make room for other titles. Politics or controversy over content do not influence our decisions.

I think this is a case of seeing controversy where there is none.  Sometimes books don’t sell well at a particular retailer, it just happens. Costco stores don’t necessarily have the same demographics as Amazon, so their sales aren’t going to be the same.  And honestly, this alleged slight to the book has probably done more for its sales than anything else.  Costco has always carried books on both ends of the political spectrum, so it seems pretty clear that they don’t pick their books based on political message.  They have a book on their table right now that is, by all accounts, also very critical of Obama and the current administration, One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future by Dr. Ben Carson.  I’ve also seen books by Rush Limbaugh at Costco, and if anyone is hating the other side of the political spectrum, it is him.  So if Costco is so concerned with pushing a political agenda through their book table selections, why do they sell these books?  Why is it just this one book that would be pulled?  Probably because this one book wasn’t selling well with their members.

Not to mention, how do people think Costco buys books?  Just randomly?  There is no way that this book ended up at Costco without awareness of the content of the book, as well as the history of the publisher and author.  Dinesh D’Souza, the author has made a whole career of writing books and making documentaries about how horrible liberals and Obama are for the US.  And the list of books from the publisher, Regnery Publishing, makes it abundantly clear what side of the political aisle they are on, and it is definitely not the same one as the the current administration.  I think Costco had sales expectations for this book that it did not meet.  Perhaps they should have waited to make a decision about its continued poor sales record until after the movie was released.  Of course, maybe this was just a part of the regular process they have for reviewing book sales.  But whatever the reasoning, it looks tenuous at best to say that dropping the book was based on the political content of the book.

Also, Costco is not censoring your reading choices.  They were exercising what is considered “editorial selection” because they do not have the space to sell every book ever published.  Just like publishers cannot publish everything they receive from prospective authors, retailers cannot carry all books published.  For instance, I’ll bet that your local Christian bookstore, like Family Christian, exercises editorial selection too and wouldn’t sell things that you might find at Costco or other book sellers.  I’m pretty sure you’re not going to find Swedish Death Metal there, but you’d never demand that they stock it even though there’s no way it is going to be a big seller with their customers, would you?  And you definitely wouldn’t claim that they are censoring books by not selling this.  You would expect that they can’t carry every book and have to tailor their selection to the books that are popular with and appeal to their customers.

I want to make clear that I am neither for nor against this book.  I could not care less if Costco sells this book or not, quite frankly.  Politics, like religion, can be a very contentious subject for many people, and as such makes for quick, often over the top, knee-jerk reactions.  Things like this become fodder in a political battle that has little to do with what is best or most productive for the country, which is a shame.

I haven’t turned off comments on this post but I will be watching them closely and will not allow comments on this post, or any other, to be used to make personal attacks or spurious claims about Costco, myself, or the author of this book.  If we can all play nicely and behave in a mature and respectful manner that’s great, if not, I’ll be trashing comments, that is to say, I will be deleting unpleasant comments.

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