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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

End of the Line with Partners Distributing

I have to say that my experiences with distributors hasn't been very good. North Country Cache has been listed with two of them. However, I got a certified letter from Partners today that it is "in our best interest to terminate our agreement with your company." I have to say that the feeling is mutual. Here's the story.

Ever since I've been peddling NCC around to bookstores, I am often asked what distributors I work with, and if the store was in the upper Midwest they usually asked about Partners. I kept dragging my feet, because it was just one more pile of paperwork, and I appreciated the independent stores that would deal with me directly.

Finally, summer of 2009, I got things going with Partners. They took four cases of books! I was pretty psyched about that.

Well, in November of 2010, a big box of books came back to me that had been returned to them from bookstores. They were all too damaged for me to sell. I called and complained.

Just a couple of weeks ago another 1 1/2 cases came back. Thankfully, one case was unopened, ever, so those are fine. The rest are, again, too damaged for me to sell.

I called and had a long conversation with their service rep. She said that they have to take returns from stores, and admitted that stores aren't careful with the books. The current status of my books was that they have about one case still out in stores, and one more on hand. So far, I've received $152, and she estimated that I have another $88 coming. This is not very much money for all of that shuffling around of heavy books. (read shipping costs).

So... should I have kept a low profile, and not complained? Would that have kept me under the radar so that I'd still be listed in their distribution? Who knows. I do know that having over 1/4 of the stock returned too damaged to sell is too high of a rate for me to live with.

I was also not happy with their monthly reports, which were impossible to understand, so I never really knew if they were selling books or not.

Perhaps it's for the best. North Country Cache sells best at programs I give and through personal contacts, anyway.

NCC reached a nice milestone for a self-published books in 2010. I have now sold over 1000 copies!

2 comments:

John said...

How damaged are the returned books? I know it's not ideal, but maybe you could sell them on eBay as second hand just to recoup some of your costs :-(

Sharkbytes said...

John- I think that is a possibility... and/or put them out for sale at programs as damaged and marked down.