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How are university press books sold to bookstores?

How and where are university press books sold to bookstores and other retailers?

The sales process differs for each publisher, but most university press titles are widely available through online retailers as well as national accounts and brick-and-mortar stores in both print and ebook formats.

Fordham University Press (FUP) titles are distributed by Ingram, one of the largest and best-known wholesalers in the industry. They distribute and sell books into the trade, library, and textbook markets. They also sell audiobooks and ebooks.

Ingram has a dedicated sales force with reps that sell to different distribution markets, representing many university presses through Ingram Academic Services. Ingram’s distribution reaches more than 40,000 retailers (including Barnes & Noble and local independent bookstores), libraries, schools, and universities.

Ingram sells to and Kindle stores, where many of our books are sold, as well as to independent bookstores such as Seminary Coop, Book Culture, The Strand, and countless others. Ingram acts as the broker to fulfill orders that come from bookstores. Books in the FUP regional trade imprint, Empire State Editions, are regularly stocked and sold through NYC independent bookstores. Sales reps call on these and other bookstores within their territories across the country to pitch our titles every season.

Ingram holds seasonal sales meetings where FUP presents Trade and Academic Trade titles to national accounts and independent bookstore sales reps.

Sales reps use Edelweiss+, an online digital catalog platform that allows booksellers to efficiently create orders, stay on top of new titles, access review copies, and manage their inventory.

Ingram also distributes our titles to larger national retailers such as Target, Walmart, certain specialty grocery stores, gift shops, museum stores, wholesale clubs like BJs or Costco, and more.

Ingram is one of several distributors representing university presses. Other leading providers include Chicago Distribution Center, Hopkins Fulfillment Services, and Longleaf Services. This information can be found on the publisher’s website.

—Fordham University Press, May 2021

Outside North America, a university press can reach bookstores via an array of routes. For a smaller publisher this can mean contacting bookstores directly—local stores can often have close relationships and will happily take new titles once notified. A press will also work with national distributors and wholesalers—aside from Ingram, there is also Gardners in the UK, Libri in Germany, and many others—and these wholesalers supply local bookshops with any orders they may place. A university press, like any publisher, will generally send out a digital feed of their titles, to which all bookstores have access. With this information stores can place an order for any book that the press has made publicly available, either directly or through their chosen distributor. This enables bookstores like Waterstones and Blackwells and online retailers like Amazon and to order and stock your book. A university press will also have an active sales team who will be working to notify bookshops of new titles as well as a network of external sales reps who show their books to bookstore buyers on a regular basis.

—Bristol University Press, February 2022