Ingram, You’re Fired

March 2006
by Dennis Fried

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I created Eiffel Press to
publish my dog Genevieve’s first book (she barktates and I translate), Memoirs of a Papillon: The
Canine Guide to Living with Humans Without Going Mad, which came
out in 2000. I sent it to Ingram and was accepted as a vendor. This was back
when Ingram would work directly with publishers whose annual revenues were less
than $10 billion.

Through a lot of hard work and an
aggressive touring and signing schedule, the book started getting modeled in
the chain stores around the country. Ingram made it hard for us from the very
beginning, constantly running out of stock in advance of tours and radio and TV
appearances. Trying to get the company to keep a minimally adequate stock in
its warehouses was almost impossible. Phone messages and emails to the buyer(s)
went unanswered.

Moreover, our buyer seemed to
change every few months, and we were never informed when that happened. We had
to engage in forensics to find these things out.

Occasionally, new books sent to
Ingram’s warehouse were returned to us (at our expense, of course) because they
were “damaged,” although the books were in pristine condition. When I managed
to dredge up a live person at Ingram to question about this, I was told there
was nothing that could be done: the judgment of the warehouse people was final.

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