Big Distribution for Small Publishers
Booksellers and the Small Press
Many booksellers want to sell titles from smaller presses, but for the most part they cannot afford to do so. The cost of selecting, receiving, and accounting for such typically low volume titles is too high to allow for any profit.
This lack of an economical way for booksellers, libraries, wholesalers, and others to purchase independently published books is typically the biggest reason why these titles don't make it onto the shelves. SPU solves this problem through its relationship with Independent Publishers Group (IPG).
Economy through Scale
Small Press United is a division of IPG, one of the oldest and largest book distributors in North America. Small Press United uses the highly regarded IPG back office systems, data feeds, and sales force for aggressive sales and excellent shipping, billing, and customer service.
Rather than forcing clients to adapt to the IPG model, however, SPU provides a program specifically designed for publishers who have a small list and who need quick access to the market at minimal risk.
The Small Press United Model
Distributors of small press titles typically concentrate on making a profit by charging their clients fees unrelated to the actual sale of books. Small Press United, however, is designed to make money only when cash flow has been created for its publishers. There are no charges for receiving or moving inventory and no marketing programs that encourage publishers to outspend potential sales. Aside from a modest setup fee, all additional fees for distribution are tied to sales and sell-through.
Small Press United publishers have access to a complete publicity campaign template that provides detailed instructions on pitching techniques, setting up author tours, promoting books and authors, and a robust list of media outlets including contact names to use to solicit reviews.
SPU provides each of its publishers with a password-protected website that displays real-time sales and inventory reports, including point-of-sale information reported directly from the largest accounts, and back order information for all of its titles.