Do You Need a Distributor?

December 2008
by Davida Breier

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Do You Need a Distributor?

by Davida Breier

Do you wonder exactly what a distributor is and does? Do you think you might need one, but you are not sure how it all works? If so, you’re invited to read on.


A distributor acts as your sales force and fulfillment center and handles credit and collections. Master distributors warehouse their client publishers’ books, actively sell the titles to wholesalers and retailers, and are exclusive to the trade. They try to get stock into the marketplace ahead of demand at the retail level.

Wholesalers, which newcomers often confuse with distributors, provide books to retail customers, are nonexclusive, and do not have sales forces. Generally, they are reactive rather than proactive about demand.

What Distributors Do

By serving as sales force, credit and collections staff, and general box packers, distributors leave publishers more time for editorial and marketing tasks and ideally generate enough additional revenue to more than cover their commissions and fees.

Each distributor is a little different. It may be a matter of the size of the publishers represented, the types of publishers, the natur…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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