Ingram is reportedly considering a new system that could modernize and make more efficient its inventory and ordering process but that could cause concern for small publishers that rely on the wholesaler to always have their titles on hand.
The company has long maintained a so-called one-for-one replenishment system, but now officials said it is exploring an overhaul. An initial report in a newsletter by publishing blogger Dan Poynter has been confirmed by an Ingram source, who said that the company is exploring a new system that will take a more analytical approach to ordering.
If fully implemented, the new approach would entail a more "speculative" ordering system, which would refill—or not—stock based on a book's projected demand, instead of the more manual equation of replenishing every time a copy is sold.
While this would probably lead to more efficient ordering for hotter books, officials said it could also lead to slower-moving titles not being replaced as quickly when they are sold out. Company spokesperson Keel Hunt said only that the idea is "still being developed."