In January 2017, we asked K-12 Tenn-Share member library staff for book fair vendor options. Here is the feedback we received.
Backyard Books for their fairs now. Backyard typically doesn't have as good a selection as Scholastic, nor do they typically turn as big a profit. But they're better at bringing inexpensive options for our low-SES kiddos, and more importantly, they do all the work of running the fair, which is HUGE for schools that don't have a strong volunteer force. The bookkeeping work our librarians have to do for a Scholastic fair is massive; but with Backyard, the vendor staff does all of that, and they just cut you a check for your profit at the end.
We had a Book Fair with Barnes and Noble this year that went very well. Our parent council did it rather than the library. It was publicized well through all of our social medias. We could shop online or in the store. I don't have specific numbers, but our English teachers from grades 6-12 each received a gift card for over $225 to use for purchases for classroom libraries, and the middle/high school library received the same amount. We have 3 Scholastic Book Fairs a year that are handled through our elementary library, and they are successful as well.
They set up the fair at our school, provide an employee to work the register and restock, and they are able to take requests from the students and bring the items to the fair the following day. Other than decorating for the fair, we get to be completely hands off. It's so much less stress! The profit margin is 5% lower, but we sold more than triple what we've ever sold through another vendor.