Why we may soon have to wait longer for our wholesale books

30-03-2021 à 07:41:29
We order a book and just one day later we can pick it up in the store. To make this work, booksellers and intermediaries work hand in hand. But the largest intermediary on the German market has now filed for insolvency.

Koch, Neff und Volkmar (KNV) is the largest of three intermediaries in the German book market. Recently, the company filed for insolvency. And many are wondering what will happen next.

That's because in Germany we have a delivery system for books that is pretty unique in Europe, says Maria-Christina Piwowarski, a bookseller at Berlin bookstore Ocelot.

“It's a pretty great system, and I think it's pretty unique in Europe.”
Maria-Christina Piwowarski, bookseller in Berlin
The German book trade works like this: There are three wholesalers: KNV, Libri, and Umbreit. They are also called “bar assortments.”

When someone opens a bookstore, they usually make a contract with one of the three-bar assortments. The suppliers then get a key, and the ordered books are delivered overnight from the huge warehouses to the bookstore, Maria-Christina Piwowarski reports. The delivery is made in reusable tubs - “so totally environmentally friendly,” says the bookseller.
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