As independent booksellers weather the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, industry partners are stepping up to provide an array of support. Publishers, wholesalers, and other vendors are working with the American Booksellers Association to offer stores grace periods, extended dating, additional discounts, and more.
“ABA is very grateful for the ongoing communication and support from publishers, wholesalers, and vendors during this crisis,” said ABA CEO Allison Hill. “It’s not surprising to us that our industry is coming together as a community in inspiring ways right now to support one another and to ensure that our mission of sharing books with readers continues uninterrupted. Thank you, to everyone.”
Publishers are asked to contact Hill to share details about support they may be able to offer; at the same time, publishers may be offering support on a case-by-case basis, so ABA strongly encourages stores to contact their publishing reps with their individual requests.
Thus far, support for booksellers, as detailed on ABA’s dedicated “Coronavirus Resources for Booksellers” page on BookWeb, includes the following:
Ingram, which is currently reporting no disruptions due to the virus, has notified ABA of the following:
- Ingram is currently committed to keeping its warehouses open even if all other Ingram staff works from home. If someone on the warehouse team gets sick, Ingram may have to close that warehouse but would still be able to ship from the other warehouses.
- Ingram’s shipping vendors, FedEx and UPS, don’t have any interruptions in service at this time.
- This would normally be a slower time for Ingram so instead of reducing staff for the season, they are keeping staffing levels high to handle the anticipated increase in volume from online orders and direct-to-home.
- Ingram is helping stores shift to direct-to-home sales for customers by offering a promotion for the next few weeks. Stores that increase their direct-to-home business with Ingram will receive a credit back from Ingram.
- For stores that have not used direct-to-home with Ingram before, instructions are on Ipage. Click on Help --> FAQ --> Direct to Home. Some POS vendors, such as Booklog, have a DTH interface built into their mail order module. Check with your POS vendor.
- If stores have any issues with making payments they should communicate with their Ingram credit rep as soon as possible.
- Note: Some California stores may have had delayed shipments related to weather and the temporary closure of Interstate 5.
- Stores with specific requests should contact their Ingram sales rep or Ingram Sales Director Ron Smithson.
- Harper has donated a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal to promote shopping with indie bookstores. For Harper titles, bookstores are strongly encouraged to contact their sales rep and/or credit rep with questions and requests.
- Penguin Random House has asked that stores requesting call tags for cancelled author events reach out to customer service rather than their sales rep for the most efficient support. Bookstores are strongly encouraged to contact their sales rep and/or credit rep with questions and requests.
- In order to encourage reading and classroom read-aloud experiences, Penguin Random House is permitting teachers, librarians, and booksellers to create and share story time and read-aloud videos and live events, according to these guidelines.
- Hachette is offering an extra 5 percent for accounts that deliver Hachette books to their customers.
- Chronicle is offering an extra 5 percent discount and net 90 on orders of 10 units (10 books and any number of titles); booksellers should use the promo code INDIES on the order, which will ship free freight. Offer valid through May 31 on titles published before May 31.
- Schiffer Publishing is offering a “We’re in this Together” Program as follows: 10+ units (mix or match) = 50 percent AND NET 60, with extended dating only for customers in good credit standing; all orders ship free freight; valid March 16, 2020, though April 30, 2020; valid for titles published prior to April 30, 2020; Promo Code Schiff20.
- TriLiteral distribution (which distributes Yale, Harvard, and MIT Presses) has addressed bookstore credit and invoices during the crisis, offering an extension of terms on current payments due to be paid up to 90 days from invoice date. No deadline or backdating, no end date for monitoring.
- Norton is strongly encouraging bookstores to contact their sales rep or credit rep. They are very willing to work with bookstores on their current situation.
- Bookazine is operating under normal business hours with no disruption in services. Booksellers with questions or requests can contact Steve Goldberg.
- Bookshop.org has announced an increase in affiliate store commissions from 25 percent to 30 percent for the next eight weeks. Bookshop will earn nothing off those sales; all profit will go to participating independent bookstores.
- 100 percent of the revenue from new memberships and one-month gift memberships is going directly to Libro.fm’s partner bookstores via their quarterly reports. Libro.fm is offering a two-for-one membership for customers for $14.99 with the promo code “SHOPBOOKSTORESNOW” (bookstores get $14.99 for each time a customer uses this code) as well as a one-month gift membership for $15 (bookstores get all $15). Offers are good through March 31. Additionally, Libro.fm is using the hashtag #ShopBookstoresNow on social media. Booksellers can access free assets on the Bookseller Hub. Sign up for Libro.fm now; email email@example.com to get started.
- Litographs is extending the due date of all open invoices to May 31. Additionally, now through the end of April, any orders placed by current customers will have 60-day terms.
- Eventbrite funds are readily available in the event stores need to issue refunds to event attendees. Eventbrite will be holding back scheduled payouts for all published and future events in Eventbrite accounts. Note: this change only impacts payouts stores are scheduled to receive before an event ends. Going forward, payouts will process five days after the event ends, which is Eventbrite’s typical policy.
- Eventbrite is holding a webinar on Friday, March 20, at 2:00 p.m. ET to review how to cancel or postpone events through Eventbrite. Join the Zoom meeting here.
Booksellers are welcome to reach out to ABA with any questions or concerns or visit the Bookseller-to-Bookseller Forums to talk with other booksellers.