Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Magazine and Book Distributor Suspending Normal Business Activities

Anderson News announced last month it would charge 7c per copy to the publisher for the distribution of magazines and books. Publishers balked and refused to ship the content to Anderson News. Now Anderson News has suspended “Normal Business Activities.” The distributor services 40,000 outlets including 2300 Wal-mart stores.

Most reports speak only about the effect on magazines, particularly weeklies, and not so much on the book distribution aspect. However, one VP said that this is 50% of the distribution market gone.

There are other distributors ready to take up the abandoned market but it will take some time for contractual issues to work itself out.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. KCfla
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 12:14:54

    Anderson distributes to Walgreens as well. So you can add 6000 more stores to the tally.
    Darn, there goes my employee discount on books….. :-(

  2. Leah
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 12:46:08

    Well, crap! I look forward to “new magazine week” at WalMart and Kroger! (yes, my life is that sad).

  3. Kay Sisk
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 14:48:16

    As if the selection at our local WalMart weren’t sad enough, now we won’t have any. We can add this to the closest Border’s (40 miles) tendency to have the books I’m looking for as “order only.”

    And they wonder why we shop at Amazon.

  4. Sherry Thomas
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 16:57:33

    Oh crap. Wal-Mart is a huge percentage of sales.

  5. GrowlyCub
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 18:02:58

    So, what is Anderson doing for business now, if they don’t do what they used to? How are they going to keep the doors open?

    Wild! :(

  6. Jana J. Hanson
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 20:15:04

    This is a hometown news story (one of many (possible) closures as of late):

  7. Leah Hultenschmidt
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 20:46:53

    50% seems like a pretty big estimate from the numbers we usually work with. And keep in mind Anderson News is just *one* supplier of Wal-Mart. Anderson Merchandisers, a totally separate wholesaler, supplies many more, and I believe Levy has some too, though they’re primarily Target and KMart. The impact on magazines is definitely a lot more affected, though some book sales will likely be hit too.

  8. Sherry Thomas
    Feb 10, 2009 @ 08:54:03

    Thank you Leah for the reminder.

    Anderson Merchandisers is the one that supplies 2000+ Wal Marts in the states, I believe. Anderson News is more of a Canadian outfit.

  9. Jane
    Feb 10, 2009 @ 08:57:05

    @Sherry Thomas The link I included in the article said that Anderson News sourced the 2300 Wal-mart stores. It does seem like a magazine issue, mostly, but if they do stock the 2300 stores with books as well, that’s obviously a problem.

    According to the AN site, they source ” books and magazines to 40,000 retailers in the U.S. “

  10. Sherry Thomas
    Feb 10, 2009 @ 16:33:44

    My bad. I confused Anderson News and News West in my head.

    Well, crap again.

  11. Kathryn Smith
    Feb 10, 2009 @ 20:06:02

    Hopefully it won’t take too long for someone else to take over distribution. Meanwhile I’ll take my happy pills and hope that chain stores will increase their orders and readers will find other places to get their books.

  12. Julia Justiss
    Feb 11, 2009 @ 09:20:01

    Holy crap is right. This could have a huge impact on authors, esp those who write series books that may only be on the shelves for a month or so. If no alternate distributor is worked out for “a few months” and you have a book out in one of those no-distributor months, you could have up to 50% of your print run never make it to the store–and have no place to go later, since several months hence when the “issue” is resolved, **that** month’s books will get shipped. Readers will grumble and go to another bookstore to buy someone else’s books or maybe look on amazon, if they are enough of a fan to know you have a book out. Otherwise, publishers will lose money, authors will lose half their royalties and show sales figures that will make future contract negotiations…difficult.

    A few years ago a train carrying most of the western print run for a publisher was derailed and the books destroyed. They were never reprinted. Obviously, the publisher lost–but the authors lost even more.

    I’m looking for some chocolate.

  13. Anita C.
    Feb 14, 2009 @ 01:08:53

    Well, I’ve been “joking” for years and years with clerks, whenever and wherever I buy books, trying to lay off a bit of my guilt. I almost always say, “well, these will go with the 3,000 other unread books I keep in my house.” I’ve struck up quite a few conversations with strangers who smile understandingly when they hear me. We talk nervously about how we shouldn’t even be in the book section, book store, library book sale, garage sale…..whatever, since we “need more books like a hole in the head.” I always added defiantly that I was stocking up for the next WWIII or the complete breakdown of the infrastructure, since I’d be scared to death to be in the house without a 4-year supply of reading material.

    Well, hey, I guess I’ve been vindicated. I’m all set, you guys! (You think I’m kidding, don’t ya? I bet I do have several thousand unread books under beds, in the storage shed, in the back of closets, the basement, the attic, and all my bookcases are double rowed!) If you get desperate and you’re anywhere near Seattle, stop on by! I’ve got SF, Romance, Thrillers, Mysteriess, Bios, Literary Fiction, History, Classics, Self-help, Humor – everything but fantasy and Grisham.

  14. Anita C.
    Feb 14, 2009 @ 01:22:28

    How could I leave out…….porn! As in “The Story of O” and Frank Harris’s “My Secret Life” in case those are to anyone’s taste. And Poetry, Art books, Plays, Cookbooks, Short Stories, Bibles…………..I’ll stop now.

  15. Where Do We Go From Here? « Publishing Renaissance
    Feb 20, 2009 @ 21:39:55

    […] career, and part of it stems from anticipating what may lie ahead. As a result, when I read that Anderson News was suspending its book and magazine distributing activities, thereby wrecking the distribution of […]

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