The Ingram Content Group has made sidelines buying easier for booksellers through its expanded gift and game catalog. The catalog, which includes more than 125 vendors selected by Ingram buyers and former booksellers, can be used to help launch or augment a store’s non-book inventory.
“All the gift and game items we carry, including a broad selection of toys, journals, T-shirts, note cards, and other products, have been thoughtfully selected to complement a retail bookstore environment,” said Mary McCarthy, director of merchandising at Ingram.
The catalog already has its fan base. “Over the last year, a lot of booksellers have taken advantage of our gift and game product selection to expand the assortment of products carried in their stores,” said McCarthy, herself a former longtime bookseller. “Our catalog of gift and game products, both our selection on ipage® and Edelweiss, allow customers to quickly locate what they are looking for, what we have available, and what is in stock.”
Ingram’s ipage provides a gift and game banner for access to its specialty catalogs. There is a hover-over feature within the catalogs to check product availability. There is no minimum order required on gift and game products, and all orders combine with book orders to help qualify for free freight. Most gift and game items are nonreturnable.
Ingram also has a Direct to Home program. “We ship items for you directly to your customer with an invoice that has your name on it,” McCarthy explained. “This has been popular with retailers… Let us do the packing, wrapping, and shipping for you.”
The number and type of retailer-recommended vendors in the gift and game catalog are continually expanding. “We’re getting a little more eclectic,” said McCarthy. “By the end of August, we will have a wonderful scrapbook company, giant microbes (plush of your favorite diseases), and tutus to go with all of a store’s princess books.”
For booksellers just getting started with sidelines, McCarthy recommended Moleskine blank books, Kids Preferred (plush of bestselling kids’ book characters), and Mighty Bright booklights. Booksellers who would like further product suggestions are invited to send an e-mail describing their store to McCarthy, and she will send back a customized list.
Ingram also offers Christian-oriented gift and game products through its Spring Arbor unit. Inventory can be found on ipage and seen in the Ingram Content Group’s Christian catalogs.
In time for this fall’s regional shows, Ingram will have specific print and electronic catalogs for the holidays with more than 500 featured items.