Tactics for Managing Your Baker & Taylor Account

March 2005
by Bob Adjemian

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Today I received a check for over $3,000 from Baker & Taylor. Normally that would be good news for a small press like ours. B&T is one of our best customers. But it is also the most problematic. After many years, I think I have cracked much of the code that governs the way its accounts payable department operates.

Please note that I have found the accounting staff attentive and that they have tried, as best they could, to be fair and see that we are paid properly. The problem stems from numerous changes of ownership over the years and the fact that, with the last change of ownership, the company shrank its already busy accounts staff and moved the department to another state. It is difficult these days to talk to our contact since she has so many publishers to deal with. Indeed, when I last called, voicemail said to fax a letter.

Allegedly Short Shipments

When a shipment arrives at the B&T docks, minimum-wage workers have to process it quickly. Often, when we send what was ordered, we get a chargeback for “missing titles.” I check the weight of the shipment and know that the books aren’t missing; they just weren’t received properly.

For example, when B&T orders 50 copies of a title but the receiver scans the bar code once, bingo, the company says we shorted them 49 copies of the book. I don’t learn about the short until I get a payment three months later. When I call accounts receivable, I’m aske…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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