Phil Edwards is Senior Buying Manager at Gardners, a leading international wholesaler of books, eBooks, music and film to retailers around the world. Based in Eastbourne, Gardners has over 700 employees in the warehouse and offices to maintain the smooth running of their supply chain – a process that is integral to the success of their business and has been recognised with the BIC Supply Chain Excellence Award. We asked Phil about the impact of the growth of indie authors on the business and how Gardners works on an international scale.
Tell us a bit about your job.
I am Senior Buying Manager at Gardners – essentially I look after the front-line buying team who are responsible for our commercial relationships with all of our suppliers.
How have indie writers and the growth of writers wanting to take their own books to market affected a business like Gardners?
It’s been very positive. There is a huge demand for English language content around the world. This is helped by the fact we pretty much plug into every type of active book retailer there is globally, trading both online and on the high street. In addition, many authors and indie publishers are now able to utilise the internet and social media to gain their own potential end consumers rather than battle their way to the top via the traditional publisher route, which creates a consistent demand for content.
Publishing is a truly international business. How has Gardners evolved to supply customers around the world?
We have an international sales team who work with field-based sales agents around the world. By working jointly with our suppliers and international customers, we have steadily built up our range to over 500,000 lines in stock. This makes us the biggest wholesaler of English language stock, outside of the U.S.
This is then back up by improved supply chain solutions and having a close working relationships with many of our customers. Customers can place orders for any line 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year with a turnaround of their orders, to the shipper of their choice, within 24 hours from them placing an order.
Your business is so much more than just physical book fulfilment. Tell us about other ways you have adapted to be more than just access to stock for bricks and mortar retailers.
We stock over 100,000 music and film items (CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray and Vinyl) here in Eastbourne, along with an e-Book catalogue with over 2 million ISBNs. This attracts all types of retailers and institutional customers, such as schools and libraries. We are now a major supplier to the internet, who buy our data feeds, and many customers outside of the general book trade who look for our professional advice to help with them with a range of requirements.
What should we be reading this summer?
There are so many to choose from. However, I suggest the following:
Notes from the Cévennes by Adam Thorpe
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
A Very English Scandal by John Preston
This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
So many others…