Books-A-Million, which has been quietly expanding its proprietary publishing program over the past several years, offered a glimpse into its publishing operations during a recent conference call with investors. In response to a question, BAM president Sandy Cochran said that one of its recent bestselling children's books, The Ultimate Dick and Jane Storybook Collection, "is one of our own," while another popular title, The Nascar Vault, is also part of BAM's publishing lineup.

The actual publisher of UltimateDick and Jane is Grosset & Dunlap, which produced a special edition of the book for BAM. Special editions are one of three ways BAM creates products for its stores, company executive v-p Terry Finley told PW. In addition to special editions, BAM does some original publishing, often using packagers, as it did with Nascar Vault, which was produced by Becker & Mayer! Books. BAM also publishes co-editions, often with U.K. publishers. "We're not the biggest company; we have to be flexible," Finley said.

Although BAM has two publishing imprints—Sweet Water Press for general books and Faith Point Press for inspirational titles—it doesn't always release books under the imprints. "It's a judgment call," Finley said. Humor and regional books are two areas of focus for BAM. Asked why BAM is expanding its publishing program, Finley explained: "We're just trying to stay competitive."