In theory, a bookshop should be able to order any book that has an ISBN. A few of the big corporates such as Waterstone’s won’t even order the book let alone stock it unless the publisher is approved. Fortunately we have approval for Bridge House form Waterstone’s and we argue in favour of our sister imprints on the back of that. Recently these big players and Waterstone’s in particular have relaxed their rules somewhat. They are allowing branch managers to make their own decisions and are supporting local writers.
When we register a book with Nielsen’s we give the title, author, dimensions, cost, genre, a brief description, and details of where and how it is distributed.
But Nielesn’s does much more than issue ISBNs. It provides all sorts of statistics about sales to the industry. These can be made accessible to publishers but at a cost way beyond the means of most indie publishers.
We register books for Bridge House ourselves but our distributer does this for our other imprints. Once a book is registered retailers pick it up quite quickly though it doesn’t seem all that quick to the author waiting for their book to appear on Amazon. Just google your book and you may be surprised to see how many people are selling it online.