Independent publishers and Waterstones

Waterstones is committed to providing a unique and diverse range of high-quality titles to its customers. We are extremely keen to support independent publishing, and recognise the rich contribution that independent publishers, who have a long and prestigious heritage in the UK, make to the world of books and literature. Finding and championing publishers that are small, new or hard to find on the high street is a big part of what we do.

We welcome submissions from publishers large or small, old and new, provided they are of the high quality expected and deserved by our customers.

Before submitting any titles to our central buying team for consideration, your book must have the following:

  • An ISBN

How do I obtain an ISBN?

  • Title information on Nielsen BookData

How do load my title information to Nielsen BookData?

  • A Waterstones-recognised distributor

What is a Waterstones-recognised distributor?

Only once the above criteria have been met can you then submit your title for consideration.

How do I submit a book for consideration?

We can also stock and sell eBooks from independent publishers on Waterstones.com.

How do I submit an eBook for consideration?

If you are looking for information and advice on how to get your book published, you can find it here.

Obtaining an ISBN

We can only carry books that have both an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and a Bookland European Article Number (EAN) barcode.

If your book does not already have an ISBN please obtain one from the UK International Standard Book Numbering Agency. They will provide some information about EAN barcodes and details of where to obtain them when you register with them for ISBNs.

Details for the UK ISBN Agency:

Email address: isbn.agency@nielsen.com

Postal address: UK ISBN Agency, Nielsen BookData, 3rd Floor, Midas House, 62 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6LQ

Title Information on Nielsen BookData

Nielsen BookData provides all the book information for our systems and we cannot consider any titles that do not have a basic record.

A basic record contains:

  • ISBN
  • Author
  • Title
  • Subject classification (including BIC code)
  • Publisher and Imprint
  • UK availability
  • UK price
  • Format
  • Territorial rights (where the book can be sold)
  • UK publication date
  • UK distributor

We also strongly recommend that you upload a jacket image, as this will help both Waterstones buyers, booksellers and customers. Please note: we do not accept jacket images that are sent to Waterstones.com, they must come through Nielsen BookData.

Once you have all the above information to hand, you should then contact Nielsen BookData to set up a record.

Nielsen BookData Publisher Help Desk

Email address: pubhelp.book@nielsen.com

New title forms or registration for NBD's online-editing service Pubweb, are available through their website at www.nielsenbookdata.co.uk.

Please be aware that it can take up to six weeks for Nielsen BookData to editorially process new record submissions on their database if you are using their free listing service.

Have a Waterstones-recognised distributor

Ensure that you have a Waterstones-recognised distributor. Waterstones will only stock books with distributors that we have a trading relationship with.

Waterstones buys from all of the major book distributors in the UK, eg TBS The Book Service, Littlehampton Book Services, Grantham, Marston, Turnaround etc, as well as the two major wholesalers, Gardners and Bertrams. Gardners is the easiest route into Waterstones. A pdf including details on how to set up to supply Waterstones via Gardners, is attached below:

PDFDownload or print the Waterstones/Gardners trading application form >

Please note that only publishers, not authors, can set up to supply Waterstones via a distributor. If you are an author and are unsure on how to proceed, please contact either your publisher or our Independent Publisher Coordinator (ipc@waterstones.com) who can advise you on appropriate suppliers.

Submitting your book for consideration

Please note that once you have completed the above steps, your book will be listed for sale on Waterstones.com.

And you are now also ready to send us your book for consideration for our stores. We give due consideration to everything sent to us and we will aim to respond within 60 days.

When submitting a title you must provide the following:

  • Bibliographic information (ISBN, Author, Title)
  • A copy of the book
  • A stamped addressed envelope (if you would like your book returned to you)
  • Your email address
  • A covering letter introducing yourself/the author

You should also provide as much of the following as possible. The more information you provide the more accurately we can make a decision on a title:

  • A synopsis of the book
  • Who will it appeal to?
  • Any geographical regions this book could sell well in (NB Waterstones has stores in Ireland, Scotland, Wales)
  • What marketing/PR work are you doing to promote your book?
  • Sales data of any previous publications
  • Jacket Image

Please keep information to only one page and send this, along with a copy of the book to: Independent Publisher Submissions, Waterstones Booksellers Ltd, 203 – 206 Piccadilly W1J 9HD.

Please note that all initial buying decisions are made by our central buying team. Therefore please do not directly approach our shops about purchasing your books unless you have been instructed to do so by the central buying team.

If you have received no response within the timeframe or you have a question that is not answered here, please email ipc@waterstones.com. We aim to respond to all emails within 14 days.

Submitting eBooks

Thank you for your interest in supplying eBooks to Waterstones.com. We receive all of the eBooks on our site through a third party service provider, OverDrive, so to supply to Waterstones.com it is necessary to either supply to OverDrive directly or to use the services of an intermediary.

Learn more about opening an account with Overdrive >

To distribute eBooks through OverDrive, please complete an application form >

Alternatively, we recommend the services of an independent company, eBook Partnership, who act as a distributor for authors and publishers who choose not to trade with OverDrive directly.

Learn more about eBook Partnership's services >

If you have any questions about supplying eBooks, please contact our digital team: eBooks@waterstones.com.

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