Would You Distribute for a Huge House?

July 2005
by A PMA Roundtable

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As heads of large publishing houses talk about finding more ways to reach readers, the sales channels that niche publishers use may figure in their plans. To get a sense of how PMA members might react to bids for entrée to their markets, we blasted a what-if question:

“If you distribute your books outside conventional book-trade circles, imagine for a moment that the marketing director of a huge house is pounding on your door, begging you to handle distribution for titles from the house that fit your niche. Would the idea appeal? Please let us know what your reaction would be–and why.”

Responses covered the gamut from “No way” to “You bet”–often declaring, in essence and intelligently, that it depends on the deal–and they included reports on past and current distribution partnerships as well as on those that might eventually occur. Here’s a sampling.

–Judith Appelbaum

Action in the Comics Channel

We actually do distribute Random House’s graphic novels into the comic-bookstore market, although not on an exclusive basis, more like a wholesaler. We buy nonreturnable from them, as that is how we sell, and margins are rather tight, but the titles add to the lineup our in-house sales rep uses to get orders from the comics stores market. This helps increase frequency of ordering, which helps us get our own books well stocked in those stores.

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