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20 September 2020

Distribution and warehousing

How do all the many books sold every year get to book retailers and customers? Some very small publishers do it themselves. But mainly the books are delivered to warehouses (straight from the printer) and then sent on to the bookseller or other customers by wholesalers or distributors. Warehouses can house millions of books and the wholesale and distribution operations rely heavily on good data and other systems.

What is the difference between distributors and wholesalers? A wholesaler buys a book from a publisher and sells it on to the customer. A distributor does not buy the book from the publisher but for various charges provides services including warehousing the book and supplying it to customers. 



Cambuslang-based BookSource is one of the UK's fastest-growing distributors of books. It is responsible for millions of books from Scottish and other publishers getting to customers all over the world.

Global publisher HarperCollins has a  huge warehouse in Bishopbriggs near Glasgow. They distribute books from other publishers as well as their own books.

Other distributors used by Scottish publisers include Grantham Book Services (owned by Penguin Random House), Vinehouse Distribution Ltd and Turpin Distribution.



There are two main Scottish wholesalers: Bookspeed in Edinburgh and Lomond Books in Broxburn.

Other major wholesalers in the UK are Gardners and Bertram Books.