It’s been about eight months since Baker & Taylor announced they would no longer be providing wholesale distribution of books to retailers. Ingram Books is the only remaining major wholesale book distributor. Yesterday, I received an email inviting me to The Bookshop. I haven’t thoroughly checked it out, but it’s apparently a new wholesale book distributor, opening on January 28th, with a prerequisite of having a membership with the American Book Association. (Edit: It turns out The Bookshop is in conjunction with Ingram books and the A.B.A. membership is optional, but membership gives the bookstore 25% of the sales it makes versus 10% without it.)
That required A.B.A. membership will set one back two or three hundred dollars (dependent upon the level of membership) so, no small consideration for the average small business bookstore, however, membership has its privileges. There are many benefits to a retail bookstore for having a membership with A.B.A. including discounts for insurance and other things a store would typically use. Having said that, one could also use Ingram books as a distributor with no such membership requirement. Depending on the type of bookstore one has, they could even go directly to publishers. Many specialty stores do exactly that.
I initially thought there may have been another competitor in the running, something to keep Ingram Books from being the only major distributor out there. As it turns out, it’s another Ingram option for booksellers just getting started or already established and looking for alternative venues for book selling.
All very interesting! I will post an update when I find more information on the launch and how everything goes. In the mean time, there are always new ways to get into the booksellers field and less of an excuse for anyone pondering it. Always do your research, find out what’s best for you and get started on your journey. Keep the momentum!