Canadian publishers are adjusting to big changes in the works at their biggest retail client, Indigo Books & Music. The latest one is that for a 10-week period this fall, the retail giant is asking that books be sent directly to stores rather than to Indigo’s distribution center.
Indigo wrote to its vendors to explain that it is asking for the temporary measure in order to ensure a good supply of books in stores for the holiday season while it changes and updates its distribution center. Indigo opened an online facility last year, has invested in the physical infrastructure, and it is adding a new software system, which will begin to be used in 2012. During this time, it expects that 85% of its stock will be received directly from sources.
“We will reduce or even remove the store-specific minimum order thresholds to ensure that we are outputting orders on a timely basis,” the letter promised, “and hope that you will not consolidate orders for more than one week to avoid stocking out at the store level.“
The letter also warned publishers to expect returns. “We will be aiming over the coming weeks to return stock from our DC of titles for which there is no longer active store demand, or for which we have high inventory levels relative to our requirements through Holiday.”
Indigo recently told publishers that books that are not selling may be returned sooner than they have in the past (industry standard was typically a 90-day trial period) in order to make room for Indigo’s new line of lifestyle products launching this fall.
CEO Heather Reisman has described the retailer’s new product mix as a strategy for surviving the rise of e-books and e-readers.