Wholesale Book Supplies was established in September 1997 by myself (John) and my wife Owena.
As an Approved Driving Instructor, I was already buying driving theory material from a traditional book wholesaler to supply to my pupils. I had previously worked in book retailing and had contacts in distribution and wholesaling. However, I soon realised that many other ADIs would find it hard to source good driving theory material at competitive trade prices....and so Wholesale Book Supplies was born.
Initially, we began by stocking one publisher; The Stationery Office. But as the business grew, and we attracted a larger customer base who enquired about an ever diverse range of driving related titles, our stock list grew. Over the next couple of years we added titles by
- Kogan Page
- Focus Multimedia
- AA Publications
- 4th Dimension Interactive
- Virgin Publishing/BSM
- Theory First
- Driving Standards Agency
- Stanley Thorne.
Up until 2000 one of our best-selling books was 'Mock Test for Car Drivers' by a company called 4th Dimension Interactive (4Di). Their budget book included the official question bank which was laid out in a series of 35 question tests. One of its best features though was its lack of endorsement or advertising by a national driving school; it was a completly independent publication, which instructors liked. However, towards the tail end of 2000 it became clear that 4Di were going to discontinue the title.
We searched for alternatives, but could not find another independent budget title which included the official question bank. And so we decided to print our own version. In the summer of 2001 our sister company, Select All, published The Car & Motorcycle Theory Test book. It was an instant hit amongst independent instructors and trainers. Eventually though the book could not compete against the increasing popularity of cd-roms, apps and online testing.
With the introduction of computerised theory tests and then the Hazard Perception element in 2002, electronic products began to become more popular than books. Publishers such as Focus Multimedia began to challange the DSA/Stationery Office dominance by providing comprehensive products at very competitive prices. Naturally we added Focus' range to our expanding list of cd-roms and dvds.
Your pupils have a vast choice of ways to prepare for their theory test. They can
- study a book,
- practice tests using a cd-rom,
- sit in front of their television with a theory DVD,
- download tests to their mobile phone
- or log onto one of the many websites that will provide them with access to the question bank.
In 2004, our sister company, Select All were the first to make available the entire range of theory test question banks for download via the internet. Using Adobe's portable pdf format and some complex scripting, learners could download the car, motorcycle, LGV, PCV or PDI question bank to their computer. Each pdf included the official DSA question bank and featured a lot of the functionality usually only associated with computer software, e.g. creating mock theory tests against the clock with full report features. ADIs and trainers can benefit from this facility too. However this service has now been retired.
In 2005 Select All published a version of The Highway Code. The equivalent to the Bible for the driving training industry, the decision was based on the fact that we were able to compete on price with the 'official' version. Produced under licence from HMSO the Select All version includes all the rules, annexes and images you find in the original - as stated the big difference is the discount we are able to offer. Its still going strong and you can find more details here.
The business of teaching people to drive is continually evolving and will continue to do so. And to keep relevant and competitive we will do the same. So watch this space.....who knows where we will go next.