Distributor: A hobby dealer who buys direct from the manufacturer in large quantities, usually shipped to them before its planned release date. Whereas dealers make up the primary retail level of The Hobby, distributors are the wholesalers.
Distributors operate under unique rules. The term "Distributor" is descriptive in that they distribute the products through established sales channels. Distributors are an important part of the sports card industry, since they buy in quantity before a product is made they can help decide the quantity of a product that a manufacturer produces.