Conduits to Customers, Part 2: Fulfillment Options

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March 2011
by Linda Carlson

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Conduits to Customers, Part 2: Fulfillment Options

by Linda Carlson

Getting books to customers means mastering many different operations. Last month, this two-part “Conduits to Customers” series examined distribution options, covering wholesalers and distributors, especially those with specialties, and the merits of working with them, whether or not you also self-distribute (for more on distribution, see “Toward a New Distribution Paradigm for Startups and Self-Publishers” in this issue).

This month the focus is on physical tasks inherent in fulfillment: warehousing, drop-shipping, packaging, and shipping. Although oriented to publishers who maintain significant inventory, the packing and shipping information may also help authors who sell copies of their titles.

Warehousing

Publishers who distribute their own books have to inventory the books, whether or not they work with wholesalers and specialty distributors. Translation: they need warehouse space. For very small or fledgling firms, the warehouse is often a garage or a spare bedroom.

More seasoned presses have some advice for new publishers who expect to store their books in their homes:

Evaluate the weight involved.

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