Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

Edelweiss, Edelweiss, Every Morning You Greet Me

While I titled this post with the Sound of Music song in mind, the purpose of it is to introduce you to a different Edelweiss than the song or the flower that inspired it. The Edelweiss we care about in the publishing world is a magical (read: free) online catalog that I only found out about a week ago, despite interning and working in publishing for the past two plus years. Shame on me.

According to the website, Edelweiss “allows reps, publicists, or other authorized persons in a publishing house to manage contact lists, create catalogs, share catalogs, and take requests.” These reps can also share DRCs and use the database for research or for networking with industry professionals.

Edelweiss was launched in 2008 by Above the Treeline and eight unnamed major publishers. Above the Treeline is a software company founded in 2001 by John Rubin specifically with the purpose of creating tools to provide sales and inventory analysis for independent bookstores and publishers.

Almost seven years later, 37,000 book industry professionals use Edelweiss to help their sales department sell to independent bookstores, according to their website.

Here’s how it works.

Publishers can choose to upload their catalog to the site or make one within the Edelweiss database using the recently added custom catalog options. Another recently added feature lets publishers print their Edelweiss custom catalogs using Ingram POD services.

The professional responsible for purchasing upcoming titles for the bookstore (known as the buyer) will review the publisher’s online catalog on Edelweiss. Each title gets a page that resembles a title information sheet with summary, specs, pricing, Goodreads rating, and comparative titles -just like what publishers use during a sales conference presentation.

Instead of presenting each title to the booksellers, the sales rep can add their notes to their bookstore accounts’ catalogs using Edelweiss’ Markup function, which allows reps to add priority ratings, add/remove comparative titles, notes, and custom keywords (known as tags) to better help their individual accounts find the titles they think will benefit the bookstore most.

Each title will have a suggested purchase number from the publishing sales team. The buyer has the option of agreeing to the suggested number of books per title or they can discuss the numbers further with the house’s sales representative. After going over the numbers and prices with the sales representative, the buyer can notify their sales rep that they’re finished compiling the bookstore’s order.

The sales rep will then look over the bookstore’s order and make notes on whether the buyer has over or under-bought certain titles. They will then meet or call the buyer to further discuss business before submitting the final order.

Edelweiss has made the entire sales process significantly easier by saving time and money. Instead of presenting each title independently, sales teams can rely on the metadata on Edelweiss to help a buyer find the titles that best fit his/her bookstore’s needs.

One of the really exciting parts about Edelweiss is that anyone can access it. Although some features are exclusively for publishing professionals, us muggles can read the catalogs of the next season when the publishers post them to the site. You don’t even have to register; although if you can only access DRCs by registering, so we’d recommend it. If you’re looking for more directions on how to use the site to your advantage, the Above the Treeline website has various instructional prezis, organized by user type.

The Edelweiss database is here. Some 2015 catalogs have started going up already. Peruse to your heart’s content.

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