Building a Winning Relationship with Your Distributor: Part III

January 1998
by Bob Erdmann, Publishing Consultant

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Editor’s Note: This is the third and final installment of this series (the first two appeared in the November ’97 and December ’97 issues) on making life with a distributor successful. With this installment, we now have examined this relationship from its beginnings through its tenure.
In the first two installments, I discussed the importance of making your selection of a distributor a good one from the start, revealed realistic expectations between the publisher and distributor in this relationship, and gave advice on how to recognize things when they are going wrong. Now let’s talk about how a distributor works and what to do to get the most results. And then finally, as promised, I am going to rate the distributors based on the experiences that I and/or my clients have had with some of these businesses.

How a Distributor Works

You may recall that in the first article I defined the distributor as “an extension of the publisher.” As such, the distributor is quite frontlist driven. That means that the distributor’s selling activities parallel the typical selling seasons that the publishing industry has fallen slave to for nearly a century! Most have two seasons: Fall and Spring. They produce seasonal catalogs and have sales conferences to showcase the new frontlist titles to be published by their client publishers. Some distributors also create specialty catalogs for computer books, children’s books, etc. Because of the ever so many new titles published annuall…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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