The Ingram Book Co. has decided to exit the sales-polling business and agreed to turn over all of its point-of-sale information to BookScan.
Ingram Book Co. president Jim Chandler told PW that the company "made a conscious decision to leave the business" because it felt that BookScan has the technology and access to take the sales gathering effort further than Ingram could. Chandler acknowledged that another factor in Ingram's decision was the concern independent booksellers have expressed about giving Ingram proprietary sales information in light of the pending acquisition of the wholesaler by Barnes &Noble.
Under the agreement, no money will exchange hands. In return for receiving the sales information that Ingram had collected from about 200 independent booksellers through its RSVP program, BookScan will provide Ingram with a summary data report. "We will not receive information about individual stores' sales," Chandler noted.
In addition to receiving the store data, BookScan will honor the existing commitments RSVP has with subscribing publishers for one year. Tom Fogarty, v-p, sales and marketing for BookScan, called the deal with Ingram an important step in BookScan's development.
BookScan currently has point-of-sale agreements with Target, Lauriat's, Musicland, Hastings and 100 independent stores, as well as an agreement in principle with Costco and an ongoing test with Barnes &Noble. The company has not yet signed its first client, but Fogarty is hopeful that the alliance with Ingram "will put us over the top."