Friday, March 13, 2009

Ingram/Spring Arbor

Oops. I said I was in a Christian bookstore. Sorry. Not quite yet. Neither me nor my publisher knew that Christian books being distributed by Ingram didn't automatically go into Ingram/Spring Arbor for distribution. No. You have to actually submit books to them to make sure they're "socially acceptable."

I have to tell you, my stomach did a little flip when I heard this until I went to Ingram/Spring Arbors website and read this:

Spring Arbor Distributors is more than the leading distributor of Christian books and other products to the industry represented by the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) and other Christian outlets.

Okay so at least the biggest distributor of Christian product recognizes that there is CBA and then there are other Christian outlets. What a relief! I was beginning to worry that CBA's restrictive guidelines followed Spring Arbor over when they combined with Ingram in 1997. I also worried that the money CBA could bring in had convinced Ingram to leave all non-affiliated Christian publishers (other Christian outlets) and authors out in the cold?

But according to this article, I'd have to say that is not the case at all! If Ingram/Spring Arbor were in fact catering to CBA retailers only you probably wouldn't see comments like the one made in the article I linked to above. An article where comments like this were made:

Some CBA presses have recently opted to leave Spring Arbor for the competition - Appalachian, Riverside and Anchor, a situation that mirrors the exodus after Ingram first bought Spring Arbor.

Or this comment:

One CBA source said, "Ingram has never accepted the fact that CBA publishers have their own way of operating."

Yet it seems like they do recognize this fact and they recognize this isn't how they want to operate. I called Ingram/Spring Arbor today (because I'm paranoid LOL) to verify that one didn't have to be CBA affiliated to be deemed "socially acceptable." There answer was a clear and distinct, "no!" The book simply needed to have Christian content. How cool is that!

"There should be no problem," they said, "with my book being deemed "socially acceptable." I've stopped short of being very happy. I've been duped by this statement before. Needless to say, I'll believe it when I see it.

It does sound encouraging though. If this is how Ingram/Spring Arbor operates, all I can say is thank-you for not cowering to the powers that be.

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