Meet the Autumn Conference Supporter: The Paperback Shop

A Q&A with our Autumn Conference supporter The Paperback Shop


1. How well do you think independent publishing has responded to all the challenges of the last six months?

Having been an independent publisher, I [Caroline Summers] know just how driven and versatile they can be, and how they consider and deal with whatever challenges are thrown their way. 

Our level of engagement from the independent sector has been astounding this year, and in particular since March. We are having regular calls, Teams and Zoom meetings and talking more than we ever did before. I think the pandemic has reminded us about the value of relationships and encouraged us to communicate more at all levels.    

The breadth and quality of first-class publishing is widespread and the innovations that publishers have come up with are exceptional. Yes, this year will go down in history as one of the strangest on record, but I am so proud to be part of an industry that has dusted itself down and fought back. 

2. The theme of the Autumn Conference is global growth. Can you share any advice for publishers seeking to grow sales internationally?

The Paperback Shop currently work with customers across 36 countries and our international reach is growing all the time. 

When I talk with our international customers the single most important thing for them is visibility: if they cannot find your titles then they cannot buy them. Timely and accurate metadata is one of the simplest ways to ensure your titles are listed across every sales channel. When you enter your new title information into your title management system, do not just leave it there: update it and refresh it as more becomes known about those titles.  

A key piece for international sales is ensuring your sales rights information feeds through in your metadata. As a supplier we do not want to sell titles into regions where they should not be sold, so please let us have this information. With so many excellent publishers there is a lot of choice, so make sure your titles stand out and are discoverable. Jacket images are not a nice to have—they are a really fantastic marketing tool.  

3. How can you support independent publishers in the months ahead?

As we are a virtual inventory supplier, our customers have full visibility to every single one of your titles, not just the frontlist or key titles.

We are very active on social media and we love to work with our independent publishers to promote their titles across all our channels. We do not charge publishers to do this! So, talk to us. In our monthly newsletter, The Pulse, we always have a Publisher of the Month feature. Talk to our team about getting involved in this. Tell us what is happening and what you are doing. We love to hear about your new titles and will do all we can to promote them.

We are launching our B2B customer website this month, and this will enable all of our trade customers the world over to have access to our full inventory, so they can order any one of our publishers’ titles in real time. We are also in the scoping phase for our B2C website which we hope to launch in the first quarter of 2021, opening more channels for our publisher partners.

As an independent SME we are extremely agile and can react very quickly to changing market conditions and circumstance. We were one of the only wholesalers still fully operational throughout the lockdown in the spring, ensuring global customers could still access books. This is testament to our excellent team and can-do attitude. Please do talk to us and find out what we can do to support you.        

Visit The Paperback Shop website.