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Library supplier

A commercial intermediary buying books from publishers and on-selling them to libraries. The equivalent of a wholesaler in the library world. In the United States, the term book jobber covers both wholesaler and library supplier.

Library suppliers liaise with libraries to determine their profiles, proposing concrete acquisition lists based on their knowledge of how new publications fit with a library’s needs. Moreover, they aggregate books, thus providing libraries with a ‘one-stop shop’ and helping them avoid the nightmare of purchasing (and accounting for) titles from potentially thousands of different publishers. Instead, the library can order single copies of books from multiple publishers, receive them in the same delivery and pay for them on a single invoice.

Library suppliers are under increasing pressure from retailers like Amazon, whose bigger discounts received from publishers allows them to offer libraries greater discounts. Library suppliers are defending their territory by offering cataloguing and other specialist services to the libraries.

This definition is extracted (and expanded on) from the book Getting Published: A Companion for the Humanities and Social Sciences by Gerald Jackson and Marie Lenstrup.

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