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How to Get Your Book Listed & Stocked at Gardners?

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Last Updated on August 30, 2022 by Ben Oakley

In the UK, Gardners is the largest book and entertainment wholesaler and distributor. They supply supermarkets, bookstores, and even HMV.

They are the third largest wholesaler in the world and ship over 100,000 books from their warehouse every single day!

How to Get Your Book Listed & Stocked at Gardners?

They are the go-to book wholesaler in the UK, who supply the likes of Waterstones, WHSmith’s and once upon a time, Borders.

As a self-published author or small publisher, if you want your book stocked in Waterstones then Gardners is the avenue to take.

Getting listed is as simple as having an ISBN

Any small publisher in the UK or author with their own publishing name will be getting their ISBNs from Nielsen.

If you have purchased your ISBNs direct from Nielsen (not from a third-party seller) then your books will automatically be available in Gardners extended catalogue.

When you set up a publisher account with Nielsen, you will provide details of your wholesale pricing, which usually falls anywhere between 40-60%, along with the correct order email.

To sell to Gardners:

  • Publishers must be registered with Nielsen.
  • Products must have a valid ISBN.
  • Suppliers must have stock available from the UK.
  • Suppliers must have a UK Sales & Marketing activity.

The first three seem simple but what about that last one? It means that you need to be selling your books within in the UK and have them available to send from within the country.

Even as an American publisher, if you have the right distribution set up then you can still sell to Gardners.

What is Gardners extended catalogue?

You might find your book listed on their site, but it won’t be in stock with them. Instead, it will be shown as available to order from the extended catalogue.

This means that Gardners don’t hold the physical copy of your book in stock. They need to order it from the publisher first before sending it out to the retailer.

Depending on the terms you agreed when you set up your ISBNs, you title should be orderable through Nielsen BookNet.

“Books that we list, but don’t stock, are sourced through the Nielsen Bookdata teleordering service.” – Gardners.

It’s important for a small publisher to have a small stock of their books available for when an order might come in. Gardner’s don’t just order boxes of books from new publishers, though they might put in a test order of one to see if your sales avenue is working.

“If we do decide to stock your products, we will contact you directly to advise you and discuss commercial terms, discounts and supply.” – Gardners.

For new publishers, books are stocked on consignment, so expect to ship your books before being paid for them.

Nielsen to Gardners to Waterstones

From Waterstones, “all the information on the stock management system and waterstones.com is fed from Nielsen BookData. Your publisher, or you as publisher, will need to do this and this can take up to six weeks to complete.”

When you choose expanded distribution on Amazon, Gardners is included but it’s never guaranteed, which is why using your own ISBNs gives you so much more control.

Once you have your own ISBN and have listed your metadata on Nielsen via title editor then you’ll need a Waterstones approved distributor.

The go-to distributor is of course, Gardners. Waterstones have a Gardners trading application form (PDF) that needs to be filled out before they consider stocking your book in shops.

What is Hive.co.uk?

Hive is Gardners customer facing website and allows readers to buy books direct from Gardners. It didn’t quite have the impact on the industry that was expected.

Unless they have offers or industry-wide discounts, the prices on Hive tend to be full RRP. Where the new James Patterson would cost £10 in Tesco (a loss-leader product), it would be £20.99 on Hive.

The benefit of using Hive is the quick delivery, top-notch service, and a small percentage of your total order goes to support one of the hundreds of independent bookstores linked to them. To have your book listed on Hive, you need to be listed at Gardners.

Quick recap

To be listed at Gardners:

  • Title should have an ISBN.
  • Metadata available on Nielsen.

To be stocked at Gardners:

  • Titles should have an ISBN.
  • Metadata available on Nielsen.
  • Trading account with Gardners.
  • UK-based stock.
  • Sales and marketing avenue.
  • Physical books available to order.

It may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through. But if you’re serious about doubling down on your publishing career, then Gardners should be top of the list to crack.

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Ben Oakley is a bestselling author, researcher, publisher, blogger, and mental health advocate from Camden, England. Usually found on Twitter or in the bars and parks of Camden. Agathokakological is his favourite word!