I just got a piece of mail from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, of which I am a subscriber, offering free annual reports and prospectuses of many publicly traded companies and funds at http://kpf.ar.wilink.com. They even ship them to you for free. However, many popular companies are not available (I searched for Costco (COST)).
A better option is AnnualReportService.com, which doesn’t ship but shows you the .pdf version of reports for many more companies. You’ll need to log in to see them, but feel free to use the one I just made (cut & paste):
Next question was, how do I read them? I’ve gotten lots of these thick pamphlets full of numbers and dense statements, and promptly circular-filed them. But I just ran across this article on How to Read an Annual Report on MoneyChimp. It’s pretty nicely done – brief, easy to understand, and complete with purty diagrams.
I downloaded the Costco Report from AnnualReportService, and I’ll see if have time to use this article and glean any interesting bits.