An Update on the PMA/IPG Trade Distribution Progra

January 2001
by Curt Mathews, IPG

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In the spring of 1992, PMA began to offer members the possibility of submitting books to a trade distribution program which the organization operates in conjunction with the Independent Publishers Group. As of the end of November 2000, a little over a million books have been sold through this program for a total value of about $9 million. Returns have averaged 20%. This calendar year, sales will be about 250,000 units for a value of about $2 million.
Approximately 350 titles have been accepted into the program since its inception, which means that the average title has sold about 2,800 copies for a value of $25,000. Averages in this case, however, are not especially helpful. Some titles have performed very well, selling in excess of 20,000 units; others have done poorly with unit sales of less than 1,000. Book picking is hardly an exact science, even when it’s done by people with a lot of experience. (Please see the accompanying sidebar for information about how the program operates.)
Is there still a need for the Trade Distribution Program now that books can be marketed on the Internet? It is certainly a fact that—and the Borders and Barnes & Noble Web sites—will handle almost any title that is published; and that Ingram and Baker & Taylor (the national wholesalers) will stock at least a few copies of almost any title in order to be able to supply the electronic booksellers. (The name of the Web bookselling game is to make available every book that is in…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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