Alibris is ramping up a program that has been gaining momentum since it was first launched 18 months ago. Alibris Distribution Services aims to help booksellers and publishers that want to liquidate excess inventory, but don't want to put the resources into selling the titles online themselves. Under what Alibris CEO Brian Elliott called a consignment program, ADS provides cataloguing, pricing, fulfillment, customer service, returns processing functions and distribution across all Alibris channels for any company wanting to sell large amounts of stock. There is a 5,000-unit minimum, and Alibris can reject items that it believes are unsalable. There is a one-time charge of 99 cents per item, and the seller receives 70% of the price once the item is sold.
Elliott said the program is best used for selling a broad variety of inventory that is hard for booksellers to segment, such as books that were bought nonreturnable as well as hurt books. Since the service launched, about one million books have been catalogued, said Mark Mason, v-p of operations and head of ADS. “We see it as a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Mason. “It deepens our selection while letting booksellers profit from dormant inventory.” Clients are paid monthly, and Alibris offers online reporting for booksellers to monitor sales.
While early customers have come from Alibris's existing bookseller base, there is no requirement that ADS users use other Alibris services. And while ADS has been initially directed toward online and brick and mortar booksellers, Elliott said it could also be used by publishers looking to sell books they don't know what to do with.