The curved ball thrown by my paperback distributor featured in my IWSG post two weeks ago. To recap, an email from the publisher said Ingram would be dropping my “book/books” from April 25th. But not which titles.

the supply chain

I guess from some of the comments that many people aren’t aware of the supply chain. Unless you deal only with Amazon, you need

  • a print publisher, to produce the physical books and get them to…
  • a distributor, who takes books from the printer to the point of sale
  • the bookseller, who sells them.

with print on demand, most of us indies will not have boxes of books filling our garages, holding up the beds, or stacked in the wardrobes where once you had clothes. Instead, the bookseller orders a stock (if you’re lucky and they think it’s worth it), or orders a single copy when you place your order for it.

the distributor is the organisation that meets the orders from booksellers.

my suppliers

so, having set up my book if the format required by my print publisher, Blurb, I upload it, check a proof copy (not free) and then set it up on Blurb’s system for sale. With them, I can list it privately, so people I give a link to can buy it from Blurb, or I can sell it only on Blurb’s shopfront (paperbacks for my short stories and the Cavies of Flexford Common), or I can put the price up to cover the distribution, and get it listed on the Global Retail Network, which here is fulfilled by Ingram. Then you can order it from your favourite store using its ISBN, or find it listed on Amazon, the Apple bookstore, bookstore.org and other places.

But, it appears that Ingram reserve the right to drop titles if they haven’t sold in the past year. And they’ve obviously been having a clear-out.

I don’t understand why they do this, since they don’t hold stock. If they did, I might understand better. Amazon UK obviously did, which is probably why they were selling the paperback at the price of the ebook last summer – but only for middle books in the series. They now have some of the books listed at the recommended price, and some at a whopping £5 premium and a delivery of 2 months. I got the same book from bookshop.org in 2 weeks, which is about right as my own stock orders come direct from the printers to me in a week.

But which book/books?

it turns out they are dropping three titles out of fifteen on distribution. I was told the ISBN numbers after I queried the email. No, it’s not the three Viridian series books. I reckon most sci-fi readers would read them as ebooks. I knew it wouldn’t be my dad’s memoirs, as that sells steadily worldwide.

so that left three in the Princelings series. Numbers 6, 8 and 9 to be precise. So just as my readers of the early books get to the middle of the series, no paperbacks for sale!

is there a solution?

Well, there is not a solution to Ingram dropping them on April 25th. Apparently this can’t be reversed (really?) I sent out an email to my Princelings followers asking them: if they were planning to buy one of them, do it now! I hear that one person bought two via bookshop.org.

I’m going to have to wait to see if Ingram carries on with the delisting, since they have now had sales.

if they do, one thing Blurb suggested was to relist them. Given recent sales, that might work. That’s my current plan, anyway.

I have two other ideas…one is to direct purchasers to the Blurb website, although their shipping costs are pricy. The other is for people to buy direct from me. I keep a small stock in hand for the shows. And guess what? These three titles are the ones I haven’t sold at shows yet, either. Oh, take that back, I sold a Chronicles of Marsh because they liked the cover!

The bonus

the bonus is, I took a good look at my Princelings mailing list. I couldn’t understand why it had shrunk so much since last year. Then I realised several people I knew had been on it in the past weren’t on it. I emailed them, and they certainly hadn’t unsubscribed. But then…neither had I, and I was my first follower!

So my next task is to work out where 150 or more followers have gone, when and why.

if you want to be on my newsletter list (as opposed to getting mailed every time I post something) please nip back to the ‘Newest’ page and complete the signup form. Thanks!

and now… to fix that other curved ball in the Willoughby file set-up. It should be easy enough, once I locate the final final version!

Curved ball follow-up
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8 thoughts on “Curved ball follow-up

  • 17 April, 2024 at 5:58 am
    Permalink

    I hope you manage to get this situation resolved Jemima, it’s obviously quite worrying.New readers may drop the series if they find the next one in a series is not readily available.This seems a very high handed action by INGRAM ,one they could have tried to address with authors before making such decisions, Perhaps some other way could have been found to resolve any problems they found woth the author’s help and input.
    Huge Hugs

    Reply
  • 17 April, 2024 at 6:19 am
    Permalink

    My goodness Jemima this does sound like a lot of work for you. I think Ingram have a cheek! I hope you can resolve the situation.

    Reply
  • 17 April, 2024 at 2:10 pm
    Permalink

    What a morass, Jemima! Can you set up a paypal account so we could buy directly from you? Prayers coming from across the pond that this gets straightened out in your favor.

    Reply
    • 24 April, 2024 at 8:44 pm
      Permalink

      Buying direct off my blog is an option, but I’d rather not do that if I can help it, because of the extra work involved. I’m really bad at taking things to the Post Office!

      Reply
  • Pingback:Curved balls part 3 | #IWSG - Jemima Pett

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