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Instructions to Friends of GNU on how to get GNU Press books into their local bookstores.

First visit to familiarize yourself with the current title list, and see if any new ones have been announced.. Also visit the Information for Resellers link, and notice which books are being specifically marketed to bookstores, and what points are being made in the sales pitch.

Contact several bookstores in your region with good-sized technical sections. Don't select more than one branch each of chain stores. Find out whether they stock GNU Press books, and whether or not all their distributors stock GNU Press books.

One useful technique is to look through the store for books about Richard Stallman or his work--in particular, Free As In Freedom. Then you can say to the buyer, "You carry N different books about Stallman's work, including his biography, but you don't carry his own book." This technique is sometimes effective, since it provides a reason for them to be interested.

If the bookstore does not stock GNU Press books but one or more of their distributors does:

Call or visit the store and ask to speak to the person in charge of technical book section. (The average person working on the store floor cannot help you in this matter.) Ask why they don't hold GNU books in stock. Point out to the bookstore that the GNU project provides many of the main programs used by programmers and system administrators, and that they are missing stocking the definitive books for these programs. This may be sufficient to encourage the bookstore to inquire to their distributor.

If some or all of the bookstore's distributors do not supply GNU Press books: Ask the bookstore employee the name and telephone number of the distributors they purchase from - doing the same for 3 or 4 computer bookshops will give a good picture of the main distributors in your region to focus on.

Telephone the distributors to verify whether they do or don't stock GNU Press books. If not, find out the name of the person responsible for specifying which books the distributor stocks.

Tell the purchasing manager you are ringing on behalf of GNU Press. Explain what the GNU project is, making sure the purchasing manager is clear the GNU project publishes definitive books for a range of programs published as part of the GNU project, and that the programs are common to many. Point the purchasing manager to the web site. Sometimes a purchasing manager will be sufficiently technically oriented to discuss the ubiquity of programs such as GNU Make and GCC. Once the purchasing manager has understood these issues, he is likely to want to see samples of GNU Press books, perhaps two or three titles to get a feel for the breadth and depth of coverage and the quality of writing style. At this stage, you should contact GNU Press to co-ordinate. Send email to

When making your sales pitch, good books to mention are GNU Make, MDK and Free Software Free Society. This gives a cross section of technical manual, 'fun' book and philosophical book.

Find out when it is convenient to contact the purchasing manager after he has received the sample books. Call the purchasing manager around the designated time. If he isn't available, repeat contact attempts in around 10 day intervals.

When the purchasing manager has agreed to carry GNU Press books, a contract will need to be drawn up. This should be done between GNU Press and the distributor directly.

Please send comments on these web pages to, send other questions to

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Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

Updated: $Date: 2006/05/01 10:04:13 $ $Author: ramprasadb $