Building a Winning Relationship with Your Distributor

November 1997
by Bob Erdmann, Publishing Consultant

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Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a three-part series on making life with a distributor successful. We will examine this relationship from its beginnings, through its successful tenure.

Whether or not a book will be successful is determined, to a large extent, at the time the publisher decides to publish it. Hopefully, the publisher has done the right kind of homework in the first place as part of the “whether or not to publish” decision. This kind of homework will ensure that the book will have every reason to succeed. This is also true in a publisher/distributor relationship . . . the future success of the relationship can be determined, to a large extent, during the selection process of the right distributor in the beginning. A mistake at the beginning dooms the intended result, whereas a well-informed choice breeds a fruitful relationship for both parties.What Is a “Master Distributor”?

I always like to begin a discussion about distributors by defining what a “master distributor” is so that everyone is clear on the terminology. Definition: A master distributor is an “extension” of the publisher, performing certain functions normally done by a publisher such as field sales, warehousing, shipping, billing, accounts receivable, and collections. It also produces seasonal catalogs, pays sales commissions, and participates in various trade shows such as BookExpo America. Theoretically, by delegating these functions to a distributor, the publishe…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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