A contractual arrangement whereby a publishers or Distributor does some or all of warehousing, sales, shipping and marketing on behalf of (another) publisher.

Agency Publisher 

A publisher ‘A’ whose list is, by agreement, subject to some or all of warehousing, sales, shipping and marketing by another publishers or by a Distributor ‘B’: ‘A’ is said to be an Agency Publisher or Publisher of ‘B’.


See Representative.


A trading arrangement between a supplier and a Distributor whereby the Distributor purchases stock at agreed terms and sells it on to their trade customers. The stock becomes the property of the Distributor, though such an arrangement may include a Returns Allowance.

Client Publisher

See Agency Publisher. 


A contractually agreed percentage of revenue paid by a publisher or distributor to another publisher, to a Distributor or to a Representative after an agreed period in arrears, and with an agreed frequency, in respect of sales generated on behalf of the originating publisher or Distributor.


A contractual arrangement whereby a supplier ships goods to a distributor but retains title (=ownership) to the goods until they are sold by the distributor. The distributor sends an account (usually monthly) to the supplier reporting sales, returns and stock of the goods, and remits (=pays) to the supplier, on an agreed credit period, the income for the goods less an agreed percentage charged by the distributor for an agreed range of services covering some or all of warehousing, shipping, sales marketing and collection of monies due.


The services offered by a Distributor.


A term with more than one meaning according to the context:

  1. A company in a publisher’s home territory which holds but does not own that publisher’s entire stock; picks, packs and ships orders; and collects monies due.
  2. A company in an overseas territory which purchases, or hold son Consignment, stocks of a publisher’s books, and does some, or all, of selling, marketing and distributing those books into that territory, including the collection of monies due. See also Wholesaler.


A trading arrangement whereby a Principal grants to a Distributor the exclusive right to distribute the Principal’s lists in a defined territory: The Principal agrees to supply no other party within the territory.

Firm Sale 

A trading arrangement whereby goods are supplied with no right of return to the supplier.

Freight Forwarder 

A company contracted by an overseas customer to receive, consolidate and ship, whether by road, sea or air, that customer’s purchases from a given territory. The usual agreement is that the supplier is responsible for the cost of picking, packing and delivery to the Freight Forwarder, at which point the customer assumes responsibility for onward shipping arrangements and costs. Also called Shipper.

Gross Sales

Sales in value or units before the deduction of goods returned to the supplier by customers. See also Net Sales.

Net Price 

A supply price from a publisher expressed as e.g. £2.37 per copy, as opposed to a percentage discount off the publisher’s retail price.

Net Sales 

Sales in value or units are the deduction of goods returned to the supplier by customers. See also Gross Sales.


The supplying party to a Distribution or Representation agreement.


The services offered by a Representative.


A sales person selling to the book trade or other trade customers on behalf of a  publisher or Distributor.

Returns Allowance 

An element in a Buy-and-sell trading arrangement whereby the Principal agrees to accept for credit a percentage of sales invoiced to the Distributor. The allowance is usually expressed as a percentage of the previous year’s Gross Sales. Also known as Returns Cap.

Returns Cap 

See Returns Allowance.

Sales (and Marketing) Agency 

A company offering sales and marketing services which employs a team of Representatives and marketing staff. Such an agency will charge a fee or Commission for its services.


See Freight Forwarder.


A term with more than one meaning:

  1. A company which purchases, or holds on Consignment, a wide range of publisher suppliers; and which makes that range available to its trade customers both at home and overseas. The offering is a swift, efficient supply services, rather than sales and marketing of specific titles.
  2. A company offering services similar or identical to those described under paragraph 2 of the Distributor definition above.