MMS switches distribution to BookSource as Orca warehouse closes

MMS switches distribution to BookSource as Orca warehouse closes

MMS, the children’s publishing sales agency, has appointed BookSource as its distribution partner, ahead of the closure of Orca Book Services' distribution centre.

Orca's 66,000 sq ft distribution centre in Poole, Dorset, will close later this year with the service moving to Biggleswade in Bedfordshire, owner Books International told The Bookseller. US-based Books International bought Orca and its parent company Marston in 2019.

“This has no impact on publishers that hold Orca contracts,” said David M Hetherington, vice-president of global business development at Books Internationa. “The distribution business (Orca Book Services) will continue to function exactly as it does at present. UID, the parent company of Orca Book Services, has acquired and fitted out a brand new distribution centre in Biggleswade and the majority of publishers with Orca Book Services contracts will have their stock transferred to this location and will continue to have their books distributed in exactly the same way they do now.”  

He added: “There will be some publishers whose stock will locate to the Marston distribution centre in Abingdon, but again this will have no impact on the status of their contract. While the closure of the current sight will have some impacts these will mostly involve the staff that operate at the Poole location. From a publisher and customer point of view this is really just a change of address.” 

The book distribution business now known as Orca Book Services, started in Poole in 1976 and provides distribution services to over 50 UK and overseas, general, academic and specialist publishers. It was acquired by Marston Book Services in October 2008, from Continuum. 

“With the news that the Orca warehouse was closing down, it seemed the right time to review the distribution arrangements for our MMS children’s publishers,” Tricia Macmillan, m.d. of MMS said of the move to BookSource. 

Independently owned publishing sales agency MMS represents around 27 publishers and imprints and sells physical books and rights globally. Run by husband-and-wife team, Tricia and Andrew Macmillan, next year marks the 10th anniversary since it started and the move to BookSource “is testament to its growth over the past decade", MMS said 

Glasgow-based BookSource is the trading arm of Publishing Scotland and specialises in supporting smaller presses and start-ups. For BookSource the move marks a broadening of its business as MMS becomes the first stable of publishers it has partnered with in this way since its inception in 1995. 

Dav Bedi, BookSource c.e.o., said: “The BookSource Board had made a strategic decision to pursue these kinds of strategic partnerships as a way of meeting our ambitious growth plans and the acquisition of MMS is only the first step on that particular journey.” 

Tricia Macmillan added: “Andrew and I are delighted to have found the perfect home for our children’s book publishers. It’s been a tough couple of years owing to Covid-19 and Brexit and the added pressure, in February 2021, of searching for a new distributor was a problem we could have done without. However, we’ve been absolutely delighted with the support of the BookSource team in onboarding some 6,000 titles into its distribution centre and systems.” 

MMS titles will be available to backorder at BookSource from Thursday 1st July with fulfilment beginning on 19th July.  For further information visit the Booksource website.