Distribution Deals: Major Publishers Want Houses of a Certain Size

February 2007
by Linda Carlson

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Distribution Deals: Major
Publishers Want Houses of a Certain Size


by Linda Carlson


To paraphrase that maxim
about building a better mousetrap, even well-established midsize publishers
need to keep beating paths to their customers’ doors. Although many midsize
firms use national distributors such as NBN and IPG, and some handle
distribution in-house, distributing via a major publisher is an increasingly
common option.


What’s In It for
the Giants That Distribute?


Large presses, which once limited
distribution of others’ titles to books similar to their own, now aggressively
pursue a far greater variety of distributees. Often, the ones they want have
annual revenues approaching or above $1 million.


One reason: this allows them to
amortize the costs of their sales forces and distribution facilities and
systems over a higher number of books. As Mike Shatzkin said in a speech to the
Stanford Professional Publishing Program and a related piece in the October
2005 PMA Independent,
“If you’ve got a warehouse, you want to fill it, because you pay the same for
empty space as you do for utilized space. More volume gives you more leverage
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