Labels That Cut Costs

January 2006
by Angela Bole

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Most publishers probably haven’t focused on the hidden costs of the shipping labels they use. A multiplicity of label formats is, however, expensive for everyone in the publishing supply chain, because different and improperly placed labels cause major delays  while warehouse employees try to identify carton contents correctly and also while they apply consistent internal labels.

To lower the costs that varied labels impose and to align book industry carton-labeling practice with global trade practices, the Book Industry Study Group has devised a standard label format, received approval from UPS, and drafted label guidelines that you can get at

According to early adopters, cartons labeled in accordance with these guidelines are moving faster through distribution center systems than cartons with labels in other formats.

BISG estimates the new shipping label guidelines will work for most of the customers most publishers currently ship to. As you’ll see when you check them out, if customization is required, it will be minimal and confined within a small segment of the label.

Now that more and more books are sold through general retail outlets—such as gardening books at Home Depot, fiction bestsellers at Kroger, dog-breedi

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