I am still getting to grips with the process as it’s quite complicated, but this is what I have come to understand so far. Bear with me…
In order to get my logbooks in to bookshops, I need a wholesaler. Although retailers can buy the books direct from me (and this is the case with small-scale purchasers, or venues such as cafes or non-bookshops) if they are buying in quantity, or have a system set up for purchasing through a wholesaler rather than invoicing individuals, I need to be accepted by Gardners Books, which is based incidentally in my nearest town: Eastbourne.
My books are now on the Gardners system, having been uploaded from the Nielsen website via the ISBN. The jacket images are uploaded separately and need to be in a slightly different format to Nielsen, or rather the Gardners specification is a bit more exacting, so I took a screenshot and edited it to the correct size in Photoshop.
My books are now available as a Special Order Line, so Gardners don’t stock the books themselves, but if an order from a retailer with a Gardners account comes through, it gets sent to Nielsen who then contact me. I send the required number of books with an invoice to Gardners, and they pack them with the shop’s order, hence the ease of invoicing and ordering through a wholesaler rather than having to keep track of little independents like me and my details. The rate at which they get sold on is out of my hands, so I set the discount to which I sell to Gardners, and they pass on whatever discount is appropriate to the seller. I have to set my discount at a suitably attractive rate for Gardners to be able to pass some on to the bookshop after taking their cut, but still making it profitable for me and the bookshop. The rates Gardners take as commission vary (presumably to do with volume/type of book/size of order etc etc) so I have to pitch it to them and hope it’s enough for the bookshop to feel it is a worthwhile margin, and therefore a viable proposition to stock my logbooks.
Are you still with me?
Another slight complication is that the discount available isn’t shown on my books until someone places an order, because of the differing rates. This has been further complicated by the bookshop who were planning to order through Gardners encountered a problem – the source of which we have yet to establish, but I am sincerely hoping it goes through now!
I am now in the process of researching bookshops and retail outlets that may be interested in the logbooks, but I am cautious about suggesting they place an order until Jake at The Rye Bookshop has tested the process.
Watch this space…