Fulfillment: The Outsourcing Option

February 2004

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Hiring a company to handle fulfillment apparently appeals to a relatively small group of PMA members. But, like those who fulfill orders themselves, most publishers who outsource are happy with their choice. It’s worth noting, though, that several voiced complaints, and more than one used the word “nightmare” to describe experiences with an outside fulfillment provider.

In the stories that follow, you’ll find mentions of a few specific companies. Please remember that each mention reflects one person’s opinion at one particular time, and that opinions can and do change because facts change or for other reasons. If you decide you’d like to hire a company to handle fulfillment, you should, of course, do your own research and apply all the common-sense criteria you’d use when hiring anyone else. One publisher, for instance, “sent requests for proposals to eight or nine companies, reviewed replies and selected five or six companies to visit, and then winnowed the group to three for contract negotiations” before making a deal.

You’ll see as you read that some PMA members fulfill orders through companies that aren’t entirely devoted to book fulfillment, or even otherwise involved with it. In upcoming issues we’ll feature additional inventive fulfillment solutions.

–Judith Appelbaum

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