Ingram Book Group has formed an alliance with Valley Media, one of the country's largest music distributors, through which Ingram will offer its bookstore and library customers access to more than 250,000 music titles. Ingram currently offers only a limited amount of music, mostly through its Spring Arbor division. Under the agreement, Ingram customers will be able to order music titles through any of Ingram's ordering processes, including ipage. Ingram will invoice and service its accounts, while Valley will fulfill the order, but Ingram chief commercial officer Jim Chandler stressed that the customer's relationship will be with Ingram.

Chandler said Ingram had been considering entering the music distribution business for "quite a while," but was hesitant to enter a market it didn't know. By teaming up with Valley Media, Ingram is entering into a partnership with a company that has expertise and contacts in the music business similar to Ingram's relationships in the book business, Chandler explained. "We've grown up in a parallel universe, and we felt that because of improved technology and business requirements that the time was right to come together," Chandler told PW. The two companies are also exploring the possibility of Ingram providing book distribution to Valley's customers.

The agreement becomes effective June 1, and Ingram expects to have the service available through ipage by mid-June. Chandler observed that bookstores have become important outlets for selling music that is underserved by traditional music outlets, such as world music, jazz and classical.

Ingram will be demonstrating its music service at its booth (2051) at BookExpo America and will be a coexhibitor with Valley at the RMX show taking place June 2—3 in McCormick Place's North Hall.