IPG Keeping Authors in the Dark About Sales Figures?

I have learned from several sources that book distributor Independent Publishers Group is not permitting its authors to know the number of books that still sit in their warehouses. Authors hoping to call up the distributor and get that pivotal figure that just about any book distributor will give them — so, you know, they can plan to either buy the remainders or figure out new ways of marketing their books — are being told that sales figures are secret. And not even a friendly “Abracadabra” or “Open Sesame” will persuade IPG to be transparent.

You may recall last November’s brouhaha, in which IPG President Mark Suchomel boasted of “having a record sales year” on these pages, while simultaneously demanding that I retract a memo that had been sent to publishers from IPG alerting them to troubles with Borders. I just don’t understand. If Suchomel is “having a record sales year,” why not boast to his authors who are asking for accountability? Unless, of course, Suchomel’s “record sales year” is subject to an altogether different definition.

I’ve sent an email to Suchomel asking him to clarify why he’s not being transparent to the authors who, you know, are writing the books that he’s going to the trouble to distribute. If Suchomel doesn’t feel comfortable with email, he can always leave a comment here, demanding further “retractions” as his secretive policies are disclosed.


  1. Hi Ed. We provide complete sales and inventory information to our publisher clients but we don’t give it out to the public and have no good way of verifying that someone calling on the phone is the author of a particular book. Our agreements are with our publishers and we consider their sales, inventory, and other vital company information confidential. How they broadcast it and use it is up to them. We don’t feel it is our role to give out what some of our publishers might consider proprietary information, much like you might not want your medical records made public by your doctor. This is not being hostile. Our publishers have access to up-to-the-minute inventory figures and can provide this to whomever they choose. This has been our policy for the last 20 years. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions.

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