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Blessingway Authors' Services - Ellen Kleiner - Santa Fe, New Mexico

What It Takes to Self-Publish:
Part III: Wholesalers

Wholesalers are demand driven. Asked to locate books for stores and libraries, they wait for orders and then fill them. Although they make books available to stores and libraries, they do not "put" the books in them. Most stock only their best-selling titles, do not have sales reps, and do little or no selling.

Who are the major players? The two biggest wholesalers, each with multiple regional warehouses, are Ingram Book Company and Baker & Taylor. Ingram, the largest wholesaler to independent (nonchain) bookstores, fills most orders overnight. Their regional warehouses, each within one-day UPS of 95 percent of the bookstores across the nation, contain about 100,000 titles. In addition to filling orders, the company mails its microfiche listings to over 9,000 bookstores each week, publishes two trade magazines, and runs special promotions for a fee. Ingram usually gets a 50% discount and pays the freight; you may have to negotiate for these terms. Call and ask for the name of the current "category" (new age, poetry, visionary fiction, etc.) buyer to avoid the less prestigious small press buyer. Contact Ingram Books Company, One Ingram Blvd., La Vergne, TN 37086; Phone: 800-937-8222; Fax: 615-213-5565; Web:

Baker & Taylor, more education oriented, services libraries. This company stocks more than 120,000 titles and adds about 3,000 new publishers each year. They want a 55% discount plus a $100 listing fee to put stock publishers into their database. If you do not wish to be in the microfiche, you can give B&T any discount you wish and even request payment in advance. Contact Baker & Taylor, Publisher Contact Section, PO Box 6920, Bridgewater, NJ 08807-0400; 908-218-3803 or 908-218-0400; fax 908-218-3980.

Why use a wholesaler? Wholesalers are good if you want to handle your own fulfillment and maintain control of your warehousing and shipping. Consider going with at least two. To sell to wholesalers, send a copy of your book plus your dealer price list, copies of reviews, your return policy, a spare cover (from the overrun), other display materials, mention of any TV or print coverage you've had, and a summary of recent prepublication purchases, all well before your pub date. What they want to know is: Will the book move, and if so, how fast? What you want to do is: Get into their system with an initial stocking order.

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WHAT IT TAKES TO SELF PUBLISH: Editing & Production | Distributors | Wholesalers

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