When You Want to Outsource Fulfillment
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Not long after my husband and I started our publishing company, I concluded that fulfillment–complete with a smooth infrastructure for invoicing, account statement, and shipping–was one thing we had to hire out. We needed to keep our time free for the activities we enjoyed and understood–writing, designing, editing, and marketing.
So I set out on the search. I checked Literary Market Place in our local library and called 10 “book fulfillment” houses, shaving my list as I went. If their voice-mail maze was so confusing that it took five minutes to get to a human being, I nixed them. If a human being answered but didn’t understand what I was looking for, I nixed them too.
Then I called a company where the owner himself answered. He said he would fax me their “package” promptly, and he did. The promotional materials pleased me. The charges seemed reasonable–a low flat monthly fee to store all our books, track inventory, deal with the hassle of credit cards, and provide a 1-800 number. The clincher was that they would get us listed with Ingram. We signed without further ado.
Eight months later, we were paying $100 a month basically just for storage, plus $20 to $40 every time we had a box of books shipped to us, and we were getting confusing reports (for instance, the Ingram sales figures didn’t seem to match up with the numbers we gleaned by calling the Ingram stock status hotline). Because the prospe…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).
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